Joy also comes when you know His purpose. “You make known to me the path of life.” Humans can endure great suffering and struggle when they feel that there is a purpose. In the concentration camps of World War II, researchers noticed that the strong did not always live and the weak were not always the most likely to die. No, it was the individuals who had purpose and meaning in their lives who were the most likely to live. There is no greater purpose than God’s purpose of glory. We experience joy when we are caught up in His purpose. Diligently pray that you would be aware of His purpose.
Psalm 16 is a reference to Christ’s suffering and resurrection; it reminds us of the joy found in God’s perspective. He knows that the last chapter is not the cross of crucifixion or suffering but the joy that would be His on the other side of Calvary. Jesus “for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). Gaining His perspective will provide you with a new sense of gratitude for His faithfulness in your life and a keener awareness of those blessings. Fervently pray for gratitude and godly perspective. As John Calvin said, “There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” Gratitude leads to joy. God made all of creation, including us, to experience joy. Although the evil one is committed to destroying joy and glory, it is, in fact, what we were designed for. Diligently pray that you would be aware of His perspective, that you would be filled with the gratitude and joy for which God made you.
The church on the day of my friend’s funeral was full of sorrow, as it should have been. But to the extent that we sought God’s presence, trusted His purpose, and strained to see His perspective, there was joy. Echoing in the shadows of sorrow was the possibility of joy. Joy doesn’t come easily. We must fight the lies of futility, isolation, and loneliness, and we must fight the fleeting perspective that accompanies difficult circumstances. We must have the courage and the ears to hear the laughter and rich joy on the other side. For on the other side, we will fully enjoy His presence, understand His perspective, and be amazed by His purpose. We will spend eternity in joy.
Editor’s Note: This post was first published on February 19, 2018.