“What a lump of sunshine that man was!”
— Charles Spurgeon
“From his whole person, joy seemed to radiate.”
— Les Misérables
“When a man or woman realizes what God does work in them through Jesus Christ,
they become almost lunatic with joy in the eyes of the world.”
— Oswald Chambers
Old Faithful is the most celebrated of all geysers. Located in Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful shoots thousands of gallons of boiling water high into the air every hour and a half. This hydrogeological activity is caused by underground water streams coming into contact with molten rock. A mixture of superhot water and steam forms from the collision, gradually building up tremendous amounts of pressure. Eventually, when the steam pressure is too strong to be held back, a jet of steam and water shoots to the surface.
Joy flows from the heart of a Christian much like Old Faithful does at Yellowstone. The divine nature of God rushes through a believer’s bloodstream; when it collides with a thirsty, seeking heart, the mixture produces a heavenly joy so potent that it cannot be contained inside any human fixture. “True joy, when it is joy in the Lord, must speak,” preached Charles Spurgeon, “It cannot hold its tongue, it must praise the Lord.”
The “Pleasantville Effect” is a film technique made popular by movies such as Pleasantville and Schindler’s List. The visual effect is simple, but powerful – an entire scene is filmed in black-and-white, except for a single object that is shown in color. A viewer’s eyes can’t help but be drawn to the lone color figure on the screen. Steven Spielberg, for example, brilliantly used this technique in Schindler’s List. In a brutal scene in which Nazi soldiers take over a Warsaw ghetto, the camera follows a small Jewish girl wearing a candy red coat. Even when the camera pans to a wide shot showing at least one hundred other people, the red coat draws the viewer to her. This colorful image of the girl stands in stark contrast to the chaos all around.
In a world of letdown and disillusionment, joy produces a “Pleasantville Effect” on the life of a believer. The contentment, liveliness, peace, and vibrancy that comes from joy causes the joyous Christian to stand apart from others around him. Spurgeon put it like this:
When joy comes into a man, it shines out of his eyes, it sparkles in his countenance. There is a something about every limb of the man that betokens that his body, like a well-tuned harp, has had its strings put in order. Joy—it refreshes the marrow of the bones; it quickens the flowing of the blood in the veins.
Just like a film viewer is drawn to a colorized figure in a black-and-white scene, I find myself naturally attracted to a believer filled with joy. I want to hang around that person. I want to have what he has. Spurgeon describes a similar reaction that he had to a man in his church nicknamed ‘Old Father Dransfield’: “What a lump of sunshine that man was!…The very sight of him seemed to fill me with exhilaration, for his joy was wholly in his God!”
A lump of sunshine. What a wonderful description of an earnest believer! Packing the very nature of God, the joy-filled Christian can’t help but radiate sunshine across the world’s monochromatic landscape.