Where is joy?

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” — Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

As I write this, the New Orleans Saints just won the Super Bowl. That fills their fans with joy. We all know what it means to realize a hoped-for outcome, especially if for any reason success was ever in doubt.

Everyone but team members, though, only observed the Super Bowl win and the season leading up to it. We did not experience it. The rest of us must now return to our own realities, which may seem grim and threatening. Where and how can we find our own joy?

Does experiencing joy require that our problems be solved first? It may seem so, but in fact, we can have joy while dealing with troubles. The very first verse of Psalm 16 says, “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.” Who else would pray to be kept safe except someone threatened with danger?

Joy depends much more on our inner thoughts than our outward circumstances. David praised God for making him know the paths of life, even though he knew his life up to that time had included long-lasting, life-threatening trouble. He declared his trust that God would fill him with joy in his presence.

There is the secret. David actively sought and gained the presence of God. It was in God’s presence, and only in God’s presence, that he found joy.


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