Joy is supernatural. It comes from God. Joy is dispensed from above before it ever becomes a reservoir within. It was “the joy of the Lord,” Ezra assured the disobedient and discouraged people of God, that would be their strength as they re-established the city of God upon the foundations of His Word (Nehemiah 8:10). It was joy in the Lord that sustained the apostle’s beaten soul and maintained his ministry usefulness while imprisoned in Rome (Philippians). It was joy emerging from the words of God that Jesus promised His disciples would “be in you” so that “your joy may be made full” (John 15:11).
Joy is a gift of God. It is our hope when all other hopes have died. It is the vision and energy of the living God after those long, dark nights of the soul. It is the sturdy garment that clothes us after our mourning is turned into dancing and our course sackcloth has been laid aside (Ps 30:11).
Psalm 30 reveals to us an important reality. David’s restoration of joy is the direct result of his conscious praise. His joy is the by-product of the shift in his thinking from himself to God. Joy is from God, yes. But it is gifted to us through God-centered thinking. Psalm 30 reveals David as a man who ultimately triumphs in joy—and through joy—because he is a man who has pledged to live a life of praise. He is a man who decisively chose to turn away from self-centered focus to God-centered worship. His feelings were dictated by his raw obedience to God’s Word, not the other way around. As you meditate on this psalm you will notice that the first of David’s pledges to praise God is based upon His faithfulness in the past (vv. 1-9) and the second upon the faithfulness of God yet to be revealed in the future (vv. 10-12).
Today, think about this truth: Your “weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Strong weeping is part of our life experience as sinners who live in a fallen world. But when God is our God then our mourning is not permanent. It is only “for the night.”
“Joy comes in the morning.”
Oh, my friend, listen to me. You may still be in that night of weeping, but there is joy coming. You must believe this. You must cling to this promise. After a long, dark night of sorrow and grief and loneliness and pain, God will find a way to restore your joy. It probably will not be in the way that you presently hope for since our hopes are often self-serving and idolatrous. But if you know Him as your Lord then your joy will be restored. And when it is restored it will be a deeper, more mature joy than you had before. Until then, you must cling to this God of joy. You must rest in Him alone. You must wait for your dark night to break forth in a sunrise of joy. Joy is coming. Look for it!
For your further encouragement, “Garments of Joy,” the first of two sermons from Psalm 30 may be listened to here.