Finding Joy Again

Many of us can remember a time in our life when we experienced great joy in the Lord. Perhaps it was at the time of your conversion, or in the months after. Your eyes are suddenly opened to the truth of God's word. You see Christ as supremely valuable. And you can't get enough of learning about the glories of Christ. Joy is abounding.

We have all been around new believers and seen their excitement. In many ways, the zeal they have for the Lord reminds us of young lovers. It's new. It's endless. And they want nothing more than to spend every waking moment with the One who purchased them and made them a new creation. New love is the same way. Weddings have a way of reminding us of the love we have for our own spouse. Why? Because weddings are full of joy, anticipation, and fresh encounters with love. It's infectious.

But we all can relate to feeling dry and brittle towards the Lord, too. If we were truly honest, we often look longingly at our early days as a believer and long for the fresh zeal and wonder that captured our hearts. Like a wife who is losing affection for her husband, we know acutely what it feels like to go to God's word and feel nothing. The early days of anticipation and abundant emotions are fading fast.

The psalmist, David, understood this human predicament well. Whether our dryness is owing to sin, circumstances, or a combination of it all, there are many days where we need God to restore to us the joy of our own salvation (Psalm 51:12). We come to him in prayer and in his word and we cry out for something, anything, that will resemble the joy we know is possible.

But here is the promise. God will do it. Maybe not in the moment. Maybe not even in the month. But he will give us joy. With each passing day of slowly plugging along, we must not give up hope. The dryness of today will give way to the unending joy of tomorrow if we simply trust that the God who gave us joy once will surely give it again. Even more than that, in the driest of moments he is sustaining us. David knew that he didn't just need God to restore his joy, but he also needed grace for each passing day. Sometimes God acts immediately, making our hearts alive to him again. And sometimes, he holds back. But he never leaves us alone. His grace is sustaining us even in the darkness.

So if you find yourself asking God for a renewed sense of wonder at all he has done for you in Christ, and you come up shorter than you had hoped, take heart, dear Christian. The coldness of today is not the end of the story. Faithfulness is key. And God will act. In the same way that he gave you a new heart and joy in his salvation the first time, he will do it still.