Don’t ask me why, but I love words. There’s just so many good reasons to love a word. An expression can have a world of romance in its pedigree, powerful imagery that stimulates imagination, or simply a pleasantly sensual way of rolling around in your mouth. Certain words are more tantalizing than others, and I have my preferences. One of my all-time faves would have to be the word gambol. It’s an old fossil found in the Bible that, as far as I’m concerned, doesn’t get nearly the air-time it deserves. Try to find another sound that even comes close to the crazy, innocent, uninhibited energy of gambol.
To gambol means to run, jump or skip about playfully; to cavort or frolic; to romp about with levity and spontaneity. To really get the picture, go to YouTube and type in “baby goats leaping”. You’ll howl as you watch these little ones frisk about with mad abandon. They don’t care about anything but the wild exploit of capering from one object to another while gleefully bumping a sibling off the same perch. Oh, to recapture that kind of naive bliss!
Scripture often zeros in on these singular moments in nature. The book of Job is chalk-full of ‘em. This one however, comes off the lips of one of the most serious, sullen and staid of minor prophets, the dull and ponderous Malachi, which makes it even more interestingly intensified.
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and gambol as calves out of the stall. Malachi 4:2
It’s not easy, as adults, to recapture the moments or reasons for exultant outbursts of sheer joie de vivre that could suddenly overtake us as children. I think fondly of a couple of incidents from childhood. One sultry Summer day, after intense heavy heat, the clouds suddenly burst open late afternoon and let forth a massive, cleansing downpour. We kids stared out gloomily until Mom said suddenly “why don’t you put on your bathing-suits and go out in it?” Even though we were teen-agers, this seemed brilliant. We grabbed my two-year old brother and dragged and leap-frogged him through the accumulating puddles on the lawn, slipping and sliding like otters in the soaked green grass while the rain beat on us. I can still hear the sound of his delighted screams and sweet little baby belly laughs. It was perfect.
Another time, I had a girlfriend over for a sleep-over, and we were playing cards late into the night with Mom and Dad. Dad, who had an annoying gift for suddenly remembering rules to his benefit in the middle of the game, had pushed Mom to the breaking point. She jumped up and chased him around the kitchen table, demanding he recant his foolishness, catching and tickling him and while he blushed squealed like a little girl. My friend stared in amazed delight at these ridiculous antics, enjoying the complete absurdity at 2:00 am. She still recalls it.
We’ve come through a long, dark season of heaviness and peril for the future. We’re all black with ashes and sack-cloth. It’s time, Beloved, to recapture enjoyment, delight and the thrill of simply being alive. Fortunately, we don’t do this in our own strength. This Malachi scripture promises that Yeshua, our Savior will come and fetch us out of even the murkiest of mires. It’s inevitable. That moment we perceive Him, we will leap with relief and visceral ecstasy. Sounds fantastic, I know, but that’s not too strong a word. Be released from fear. Go, run in the rain! We can always hold our child-like confidence close, because He is always faithful.
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 1 Peter 1:8
What would make you happy, really, really exultant right now? When’s the last time you totally lost it in the rapture department? What would it take for you to spring about, yell, grab people in a hug and kiss and make a general fool of yourself, not giving a rip what anyone thinks because you are so overwhelmed with delight? Stop, and recapture that reality. Gambol.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
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