1I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
8 To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Do you have a word or phrase for the year? I have never had one before, but after the year 2020 and knowing things don’t just change overnight with a new year, I decided to have a focus word to help me keep my mind, heart and emotions in a positive place. I have chosen “joy”. I want joy!
What is joy?
First of all, what is joy NOT? Joy is not happiness. It is not a temporary feeling that we have when something good happens.
So what is joy? My pastor defines joy as a deep-seated conviction that it is well with my soul. Thus, joy is an enduring perspective and sense of peace, contentment and knowledge that everything is going to work out for God’s glory and my good and that can only come from having a relationship with Christ.
Joy is a huge emphasis in the Bible. A quick search in a concordance shows that the word joy is in the Bible 242 times and the word rejoice is in the Bible 154 times! Joy is the noun and rejoice – the act of choosing joy and contentment in Christ – is the verb.
Life in Christ – salvation – is about joy! “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3
As Psalm 30 says, God has lifted me out of the depths (of my sin). His anger lasted a moment towards Christ so that I could enjoy his favor for a lifetime. Weeping remains for a night (the grief of Jesus’ followers in seeing him die and the temporary trials, grief and pain we each experience in this life), but rejoicing comes in the morning (at the news that Christ rose from the dead and we have salvation in Him!)
2020 was a rough year and 2021 may not be much better, but whatever is burdening us, whatever trials we are enduring, whatever grief we are experiencing is temporary in the scheme of eternity. In pursuing our relationships with Christ, even here on earth in our times of trial, we can say with the psalmist, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
To experience joy, I have learned that I must be in God’s Word! It is easy to look at the world and lose perspective, but with a little time in God’s Word each day, I remember that in the end, God wins and it is well with my soul!
Why would I rob myself of joy? Why would I rob myself of spending time with the Lord (from which I have true joy)?
My encouragement to you this week (and always) is to seek joy in Christ (in his Word), after all “the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10b) “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)