Reading: Psalm 3
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
How much is our happiness wrapped up in our fortunes? Of course, we thank God when he provides us with an abundance. We rejoice and celebrate his goodness. But when lean times come, when the good things of the world dry up for us, do we lose our joy with it?
It’s easy to turn from thanksgiving to bitterness against God when he takes away from us the material things that we enjoy, that we’ve grown accustomed to. And what that demonstrates is that our joy was really attached to the things of the flesh rather than to the Lord. What it reveals is that we loved God for what he could provide us rather than for himself.
Right now, we are in a time of testing, a time of revealing what is underneath. Do we find joy in the Lord when we’ve lost the people, places, and some of the other good things that he provided us with? Or did our joy evaporate along with the things we’ve lost?
There is a joy that persists through loss and in the absence of material goods. Paul learned about this kind off joy and he spoke of it in Philippians 4:11-12. It is a joy in the Lord, and in the salvation that he has provided. It was a joy in His mission to bring that salvation to all the world. It was the joy of seeing how God would weave together times of plenty and times of famine to bring about the good of his people.
The joy that is found in the Lord is not dependent upon circumstances. It does not fluctuate with the times. It remains grounded in the steadfast love of the Lord, which never changes. And to know this joy, to be near to the Lord, is greater than the joy of all the possessions in all the world.
Lord, you speak to us in your word of a joy which goes beyond all that we have. But we often don’t live in that joy. We seek our joy in the good things of this world. We put material things ahead of you, and it steals our joy. We pray that you would teach us to delight in you. We pray that you would provide us with the joy of our salvation.