Brandon Leitnaker

Ianoda was an explorer. Ianoda had spent his entire life in search of something called joy. He had searched tirelessly throughout the entire world, but always came up empty-handed. He searched for joy in knowledge, in food, in material possessions and riches, in behavioral disciplines, and in all the pleasures that the world could offer. He couldn’t even find joy in all the splendor of the stars and the mountains. At times, he thought he would get glimmers of it, but that too would disappear. He was feeling pretty hopeless about his pursuit and began to question whether joy even existed. He considered that it could be a made-up idea, and this led him almost to the point of giving up. Despite that question, he willed himself to give it one more go, and one day, with optimism set on low, he set out to explore just one more thing.

Ianoda had noticed throughout his explorations that if you were to simply look at the core of everything that is in the world, if you look beyond the chaos and mess, you could certainly see indications of perfection. The beating of a heart, the metamorphosis of a caterpillar, the changing of seasons, a day precisely lit by the sun…all these didn’t seem to be functioning on their own. There was some causality at work. There was something in charge, something much more superior than the objects themselves that was sustaining them.

This got Ianoda thinking. Maybe joy is not an earthly treasure. Maybe he had been searching in the wrong place the entire time. Maybe joy could not be found in the things of the world, but could be found in the Thing that had made them and was keeping them operational. But how would he go about getting that information? How could he get hold of something so superior? There had to be some lifeline, some method of making contact. Ianoda was stumped, so he did the thing he knew best. He explored. He began to explore how things in the world communicated. There were many forms of communication in the world, such as the ways that insects and animals communicate, but the only one that made any sense to him was human communication. So he started communicating with as many people as he could, asking them specifically if they knew how to get hold of this superior thing.

What he discovered was that some of the individuals he talked to spoke of a form of communication they called prayer, and this was the only method they had found that somehow connected them to the superior thing. So Ianoda explored this prayer thing a little further. He found out that there were many forms of prayer, but typically only one that produced the type of information he was looking for. The superior being that these individuals would pray to had the name Adonai. Supposedly there were many more names, but this one made the most sense to Ianoda because it meant the God who was in charge. This is the one who Ianoda had been looking for, and He was bound to have the answers he so desired.

So Ianoda began to pray and explore this Adonai. At first, he heard nothing. He started to become frustrated, but he stayed with it and continued to pray. He even explored a book that was written about this Adonai. One day, when reading this book, he came across a line that read, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Ianoda thought with great excitement, “Could this possibly be it?” This could be the exact location of where he would find joy. But where in the world was “my presence”? Then, out of nowhere, in the recesses of his mind, he heard a voice, something different than he had ever heard before. And the voice spoke these words to him, “Ianoda, you are there. You are in my presence now, and you have been there all along. It is here that you will find the joy you seek, but stop seeking to find it in the world. Joy can only be found in my presence. End your search, for today I want to give you joy.” And for the first time ever in his life, Ianoda found joy. His search had finally come to an end.