Recently, President #39, Jimmy Carter shook hands with the passengers on a flight from Atlanta to Washington, DC. One passenger is heard joyfully shouting, I love you, Jimmy Carter! Another passenger wrote that President Carter was warm and humble. I wish I could have been there. What an unexpected joy.

My friend brought unexpected joy into our lives a short time ago. She had suffered from excruciating pain on her right hip. For two days, we prayed for release from her suffering. For two more days, we prayed that the doctors would not have to operate on her hip again. She received the results of her checkup yesterday. The news was good. She did not need another operation, all she needed was a quarter inch lift inserted in her right shoe. We prayed and shouted a joyful thank you. We did not expect to be so blessed.

Today is the first day of summer. It rained most of the night, but with the sun came dry weather. The cable company is installing wire, and the roads and sidewalks were covered with leftover red clay. Yards were dotted with bald spots of red clay. Overnight, the rain washed the roads and sidewalks clean. Just as quickly, grass or perhaps weeds are growing hair on the bald spots. The birds were singing. I did not expect such a picturesque moment. Joy is amplified when it is unexpected.

How unexpected and joyful it is when Jesus steps beyond my prayers and bless me with more than I could concede. Like the guests at the wedding in Cana, I am surprised at the richness and the volume of the libations that are poured into my life. Even, with my limited abilities to distinguish the good from the great wine, it is an unexpected joy to receive the gift. To be given such a boon at this late stage of the wedding celebrations gives me high expectations of blessings in the autumn of my life. How wonderful it is to have reached the latter stages of my life and have so many good wines still wait to be tasted. To have hope and assurance that I am still blessed is an unexpected joy.

Joy is everywhere.