You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever!
Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)
Series Focus: “Rising From the Valley”
If someone asked me how I would describe a perfect day, I would have several answers. Depending on who I get to spend the day with, my choices would vary. There would most definitely be popcorn involved somewhere! And even though the activities might differ, one thing is certain: it would be joyful! Being a naturally positive person, I can either make your day or annoy the heck out of you. I get that. But the feeling of joy is something I cherish deeply. I believe if I wrote a manual on how to find it—it would be on the bestseller list. Oh, wait…
As a matter of fact, we have an incredible book available to us with so much information, direction, and wisdom, it made the Guinness Book of World Records. Can you guess what the number one seller of all time is? Yep, the Christian Bible. Let that sink in for a moment. Why would the Bible be the number one book purchased? I can’t answer that question with complete certainty, but I can offer my best guess.
The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It holds so much truth, love, knowledge, beauty, correction, intrigue, and mystery. I don’t know how anyone can put it down. The best part is that the Words are alive and active! They are the very medicine our souls need to thrive. The author of Hebrews writes:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
Because God’s Word is active, we can experience each day to the fullest. Each day, even the hard ones. Baring so much of his soul, David composed Psalm 30 for the dedication of the Temple. Permeating with so much personal thanksgiving regarding God’s constant protection and deliverance throughout his life, this Psalm helps us glean the essence of how joyful David lived. In verse 4-5, David paints a picture of true worship for us:
Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Now, David wasn’t telling us that if we are struggling one day and we “sleep on it” joy will be ours in the morning. Although, it absolutely can be that quick. Joy, misunderstood, can lead to disappointment. Our impatience, lack of understanding, and self-sufficiency fight against seeing the joy set before us. During those hard valleys in our lives, we may see a glimpse of God working. When you see this, do you rejoice?
Finding your joy is an everyday practice. It is an act of remembering the moments God has brought you through something and knowing He will do it again. It is a mindset you can choose and a way of life that holds rich rewards. Jesus gave us a beautiful depiction of how we can have this joy in John 15:9-11:
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
Jesus = Joy. He bids us to come. Remain in His love and be filled with HIS joy! So much, it will overflow!! Can you imagine?
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:1b-2)
We all experience different “mornings.” Your “morning” may lie in the “wait” of the valley you are going through. It may seem like an endless night, but keep your eyes upon your Savior. When Jesus was face to face with His darkest night, He trusted His Father and focused on the promise of impending joy. You have the same promise. May joy fill your heart and mind as you read the bestseller of all time. I found my Joy in Him, I pray you do too.
Holding Fast to Hope,
For Reflection: Think about your most recent joyful day. Does anything stand out? Have you been able to sit with God and just read His word this week? Take a few moments each morning to look up a verse or two on joy. Journal how those verses impact your decisions and/or attitudes. Ask God to bring you His joy into the places of your life that seem to lack.
Scripture References: Psalm 30; Hebrews 12:1b-2; John 15