Indescribable Joy

Do you recognize the name Peter Halajian? At 26, Peter moved to Naugatuck, Connecticut from his native homeland of Armenia. His job at a thriving rubber plant allowed him the flexibility to pursue his dream of one day owning his own fruit and candy business. After work he and his two daughters made sweet treats and sold them door-to-door. They soon became known for their high-quality creations, and business picked up quickly. After just five years, Peter achieved his dream of becoming self-employed. Customers found his last name hard to pronounce, so he legally changed it to its English equivalent, Paul. By 1912, Peter Paul opened his third candy shop and his brother-in-law Cal Kazanjian joined the business.

During World War I, candy makers were commissioned to provide chocolate bars for the soldiers. Doughboys in the trenches in Europe benefited from having such a convenient, high-energy, long-lasting food. After the soldiers returned home, these candy bars remained a great source of enjoyment and comfort. Peter and Cal’s enterprise grew quickly, along with their dreams and ambitions. In order for them to move forward, they persuaded four close friends and relatives to invest in their business.  

As a result, the Peter Paul Manufacturing Company was born. Their core values set them apart from the competition: “Give customers fresh, quality candy and top value for their money.” While they offered a variety of sweet treats that became popular, it was eventually the Mounds bar that became the favorite. It became such a hit that keeping up with the demand became harder and harder since manufacturing was laboriously time-consuming. In 1922, a new factory was purchased and the future looked brighter than ever. By 1930, the company developed innovative machinery to meet the ever-growing demand, and production took off.

While many companies floundered during the Depression, Peter Paul’s company took a significant risk proving they had not forgotten they were servants of the public. They promised to offer the same exact product for whatever the public could pay. They prospered from the wholehearted support of the public. 

World War II challenged the growing company once again after the Japanese overtook the Philippines – the company’s source for coconuts. They took a tremendous risk by buying and sending seven small boats to the Caribbean for loads of coconuts, all the while evading German submarines. A lack of coconut, sugar rationing, and chocolate shortages caused other companies to resort to using lesser quality ingredients and fillers. Once again, Peter Paul refused to lower its quality or raise prices. They adhered to their original core values of fresh quality at top value. In fact, Cal Kazanjian promised, “We will make Mounds the right way, or we will close the company down until we can.”

Once again, the U.S. military became their best customer and the company packed five million candy bars into combat rations every month. After the war, Almond Joy became popular and was marketed alongside the Mounds bar with the famous tagline, “indescribably delicious”. 

It’s that tagline that kept sticking in my mind as I wrestled with describing the massive amount of joy that comes from being set free in Christ. I know I’m not alone in my inability to express it properly because it seems the apostles Peter and Paul found it just as frustrating. 

In 2 Corinthians 9:14-15, Paul referred to God’s surpassing grace as “His indescribable gift.” The New Living Translation says it this way: “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” If you’ve experienced grace and freedom, you know precisely how that feels! 

In an effort to encourage Jewish Christians scattered by persecution, Peter got personal by reminding them, “You love [Jesus] even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” Peter had seen Jesus in the flesh. He watched Him perform miracle after miracle. He listened to everything He had to say. He was in Jesus’ inner circle for crying out loud, and he still betrayed Him. But Jesus loved him anyway. Jesus forgave him anyway. Jesus went to the cross for him anyway. Peter absolutely understood inexpressible joy – and so do I. 

I’ve tried describing inexpressible joy using words and phrases like effervescent, jumping out of my shoes, overwhelming, a heavy load lifted, energizing, reviving, extraordinary, etc. No superlative sings nearly loud enough to do the job justice. Instead, what I’ve decided is that it’s our lives that are meant to do the talking when it comes to indescribable joy.   

I want to live a life that proves I’ve not only tasted and experienced joy, but I’ve digested something unique and incomprehensibly sweet. I refuse to let Satan get the best of me again! By remaining true to our core values of loving God and loving people, others will want to taste and see for themselves that the Lord is good and His “mounds” of mercy are everlasting. Our indescribable joy will fix our eyes on the future even as we endure hardships. We will see our struggles as the events that propel us into the presence of God and bring us peace. At times, we may need to be innovative, risk being transparent, join hands with other joyful people, or streamline our many efforts in order to inspire others to truly experience the joy of the Lord. No matter what, we can be sure that the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Jesus gave us good advice: “This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!” (John 16:24, The Message)

Lord, we’re asking! In Your name! Let us never be satisfied with lesser ingredients or fillers when it comes to experiencing Your joy. Overflow our hearts, especially in the hard times. Let others witness our joy and realize this kind of joy only comes from trusting in You.

In Jesus name, Amen. 

Posted in
a photo of a person jumping off sand in joy

Donna Jackson

Constantly Beginning Again

By Donna Jackson | January 25, 2023 |

Maybe you remember that 80’s TV show “The A-Team”. It depicted the antics of a wrongly-accused special forces squad who escaped military prison to become a team of do-good vigilantes. Every week, when victory was in sight, their fearless leader Hannibal would find the time to smile and declare, “I love it when a plan…

Beginning Again and Again

By Donna Jackson | January 17, 2023 |

Growing up, some called me a tomboy. I didn’t particularly like that label, but I did enjoy ripping and romping outside. I constantly pushed the limits of gravity and physics. I have many scars to prove my reckless ways and could entertain you for hours with stories linked to each one; but I’ll spare you…

Beginning Again

By Donna Jackson | January 10, 2023

As a new teenager, thoughts of driving a car often spurred my imagination. I couldn’t wait to slide behind the wheel and go wherever I wanted – all by myself. At night, when I laid my body down, I would close my eyes, picture my two hands on the wheel, and almost feel the wind…

Beginnings

By Donna Jackson | January 3, 2023

Going anywhere with my granddaddy Russie (his real name was Russell) painted a big smile on my face. I didn’t care where we went, I just wanted to go. I especially liked going with him to the Sears and Roebuck store. They had everything anyone could possibly want, but most importantly they had a candy…

Life on Instant Replay

By Donna Jackson | December 20, 2022

I was reminded a couple of weeks ago that I shouldn’t be so hesitant about sharing my most life-changing Jesus story. I can finally admit that my hesitation to share it comes from knowing how I would have received it several years ago. I would have thought it to be a fanciful tale birthed out…

Touched

By Donna Jackson | December 13, 2022

Surely, he felt more and more lonely and rejected as the days crawled by. After all, his skin disease had no cure. He and the other lepers who had been sentenced to life outside the city existed inside a vat of hopeless desperation. Life as he knew it changed the day that nasty spot first…

Wringing Out the Good

By Donna Jackson | December 6, 2022

My grandchildren will tell you that whenever you learn something new it has been a good day. I enjoy learning, especially when it comes to Scripture. No matter how many times I read through those thin pages, I always see something I’ve never noticed before. New situations and experiences can open our hearts and minds…

Used Up and Refilled

By Donna Jackson | November 29, 2022

For these next few weeks leading up to Christmas we’ll focus on a few of the miracles of Jesus. This week I decided to rework an old post that I had so much fun writing. I love viewing familiar events from different perspectives. I pray this allegory helps you discover your own hidden meaning.  …

I’m Sorry

By Donna Jackson | November 22, 2022

Those who know me best know my love for movie quotes. Since Ron loves me, he’s learned to “speak movie” with me. He and I often challenge one another by quoting lines from our favorite movies just to see if the other one can respond with the next correct line or at least identify the…

Don’t Lose Heart

By Donna Jackson | November 15, 2022

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9 NKJ) It’s so easy to begin an exciting new project or season of life with enthusiasm, isn’t it? We wear broad smiles as we work passionately to get things off the…