I love stumbling across passages of scripture related to JOY! It helps remind me that there is joy coursing throughout the world. I had a new experience uncovering joy this morning while reading Psalm 84:
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 2 I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout JOYFULLY to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! 4 What JOY for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.
5 What JOY for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. 7 They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob.
9 O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed.
10 A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. 11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. 12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what JOY for those who trust in you.
The joyful tones of this psalm encourage me. I especially love the visual I get from verse six. The “Valley of Weeping” shows us that there will be suffering in our pursuit of God but that suffering doesn’t exclude us from finding joy in the journey. We often must trek through tough moments in life. Those moments can help us see God’s goodness more clearly.
Are you going through your own Valley of Weeping today? Trust the verses that wrap up Psalm 84. In verse eight, the psalmist reminds us that God hears us. In verse nine we are reminded that He is our protecting shield. He gives us “grace and glory” (verse 11) and JOY will belong to the ones who trust in His name (verse 12).
This is the theme of Finding Joy Beyond The Headlines. The book is supposed to remind us that God sends joyful moments even during our worst valleys. Finding joy in our media-centric world isn’t always simple. The waters are muddy. The path has potholes. Subsequently, joy can seem lost in the haziness of the news cycle. Downcast headlines tend to drop frequent anchors in our memories. It’s important to remember God is present in our dark moments. Like verse 12 says, He’s our sun (life) and shield (protector) and JOY awaits those who confidently look to Him for satisfaction.