I love Saturday mornings. I am an early riser, and my house is quiet so I get to sit at my desk drinking coffee and reading Scripture. This morning I’m reading through some of the Psalms. That’s my favorite place to hang out. The Psalmists often write what is on my heart. Human nature is pretty much the same from generation to generation. They had burdens and so do I. They needed hope and so do I. I’m pretty sure you do too. This morning two hopeful words stand out as I read: Joy and love.
Joy stands out to me for obvious reasons; I may have mentioned a time or two that my precious granddaughter’s name is Joy. Everywhere I see her name in the Bible, I mark it. As you can imagine that’s a lot because Joy is one of the most consistent themes in Scripture. Psalm 126 has four “Joys,” The Psalmist is celebrating the return of God’s people from captivity. He said they “are filled with Joy” (v. 3) which comes forth in “songs of Joy” (vs. 2, 5, 6) because “the Lord has done great things for us” (v. 2,3).
Love is the most frequent expression in the Bible, and the two – Joy and love – are intertwined. The love of God brings us great Joy. Psalm 136 repeats the refrain: “His love endures forever” twenty-six times as the Psalmist praises God for who He is, for His great wonders, for rescuing His people, for fighting on their behalf, for remembering them in their struggles, and for meeting their needs. In all of Israel’s highs and lows, God’s love was with them.
Maybe you don’t feel joyful today. Things in your life are heavy and hard. I get it. And maybe you’re having a difficult time believing God loves you. You’ve made some pretty big messes that you think make you unlovable. I want to assure you, on the authority of God’s Word and my own experience, Joy and love are for you too. This Joy isn’t dependent on your circumstances. It is the by-product of a relationship with God. And the love of God has nothing to do with who you are or how well you behave. God loves you because it’s who He is.
Beloved, if you need a word of hope today, rest your weary heart in this: you are dearly loved and that is cause for Joy.