I cannot take credit for it, and I am not bragging except on God, but I am just blessed beyond measure by the beauty I see in the families around me. Again this past Sunday as the church met to worship and fellowship, I observed fifteen or twenty happy families with children of all ages full of smiles and good cheer. Over half of them are not indigenous to this area. Some have been here less than a year. There were teenagers of marriageable age and tots in totes, balding daddies sitting beside mothers nursing their seventh child, old folks leaning forward trying to hear, and lean boys raring to get out in the cow pasture and throw a football. Not but one fat kid was in the crowd, no one in the building was on Ritalin or Prozac, and we’ve seen not one divorce in the 25 years we have been meeting together. It doesn’t get any better, except in heaven.

Now, people who don’t know us will think we are some kind of cult that constantly meets together to affirm our rigid lifestyle. Not so; it is rare that I see any of them other than on Sunday. We don’t hang out together. The women do not visit from house to house “fellowshipping.” The men do not have “brothers” meetings to “encourage” one another. Each family is its own paradise, drinking from the fountain of life individually. Fathers are the heads of their families and mothers honor their husbands. Older children are fascinated with their young brothers and sisters and function as second parents, taking responsibility to pass on the love and good will.

This phenomenon is not unique to rural Tennessee. I have traveled to distant places and met with homeschool families, often visiting in their homes. I spend time with young people in relaxed settings doing whatever it is they do from day to day. I see kids all across America that are a righteous remnant of godliness and virtue. I have been at this long enough to observe couples coming together in holy matrimony, watch as their families expand to fill a fifteen passenger van—or maybe just a minivan—and see their children get married and commence their families, all drinking at the same heavenly fountain.

“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).

The most distinguishing mark is their bright eyes and satisfied countenance. Their souls are pure and honest. They are not angry or suspicious. They know they are loved and valued. They are not frustrated or anxious. None are looking to catch a ride to a better place, just waiting to get old enough to get away from their parents.

I know this sounds cheesy, but it is time to “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (Psalm 107:2). Jesus said we would have life more abundantly (John 10:10), and we do indeed, just as he promised. In a world of pain and hostility, of bitterness and selfishness, we are reaping the fruit of a life guided by the Holy Spirit of God. If Jesus didn’t deliver on his abundant life, why would we devote so much money and time to spreading the good news of his death, burial, and resurrection… and soon coming kingdom?

I have to admit that I am surprised at the delightful fruit I see across the board in the homeschool movement. It just gets better. No Greater Joy has several hundred thousand ardent supporters, and we receive many letters from troubled parents. It is easy to begin to interpret the public in terms of the sad stories we must address. And of course Jesus left the ninety and nine sheep to go after the one lost sheep. We do likewise, but it is so sweet to visit with the ninety and nine.

“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).

I am reluctant to celebrate the joy, for I know there are many who are not living the abundant life. You are hurting and crying for help, and you may feel as if you are being left behind. Don’t come running to Cane Creek, thinking that a different fish bowl will cure your ills. There is no magic community that can heal a family. The family, like a palm tree, grows from within. “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). That passage is not a glib dismissal; it is the true path to abundant life. When you seek God with all your heart, he will change your heart to conform to his, and you will live the abundant life many of us continually enjoy.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).