Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:12, NIV
Do you ever have one of those days or times in your life where you hear different things on peace and joy and fullness? You hear these things and you start to wonder what that is like? You think to yourself the last time you truly felt peace. When was that?
This has been on my mind recently. Different sermons and songs I listen to keep talking about peace and joy. They speak of such great and wondrous peace. They talk about a heart that is yearning to know some type of rest. All around me now seems like there are many things going on. The world and stresses and obligations of this world start to wear on me. My heart turns from being vertically minded and focused on God to being horizontally minded and things of this world.
It amazes me how fast the devil can cloud my peace. I can feel and see the storms and chaos but that inner delight, that joy, that fullness seems like it is nowhere to be found. While David wrote this Psalm during a difficult and convicting time in his life, I can relate to how he feels when struggling with the weight of sin and not being connected to the Source of life. But as with today, in the mundane tasks of life and just another day, I lose sight of the joy of salvation. I lose sight and forget about what abundant peace our Father in heaven gives. A gift that cost so much yet out of the fullness of His grace, He showered it and continues to shower it upon us.
All too often I think the joy of salvation should be something it isn’t. I probably feel like I should be on this spiritual nonstop high. And maybe that is it. But what is the joy of salvation to me? It is even on bad days, long days, boring days being so delighted in God. Being so delighted that it overflows to the various parts of your life. Remembering the truths that God has told us in His divine Word. Remembering who God is. An awareness or an awake-ness of God begins to well up inside of me. A thirst to be connected to our heavenly Father. That even in the midst of a bad situation we can lift our eyes to heaven and faithfully say, “Your will be done.” Knowing that what God has planned, is beyond our imagination, beyond all knowledge and is right because He is sovereign. A joy so strong that we can honestly look upon Him and remind ourselves and say “I need God more than the next breath, heartbeat. I need you God more than anything. More than words can say.”
The thing with joy is it’s when we can give God praise in good times and bad times, in happy times and sad times, in abundant times and meager times. When we simply kneel in awe of the only awe-inspiring thing. That joy of salvation could even lead us to tears when we simply think about what He did in Jesus. We can’t believe that something or someone would do that for us. That in times of depression and loneliness, there is someone who wants to spend time with us, know us and loves us. That through the struggle and scars of not having a father, we have a heavenly Father who made us His children. He tells us to unpack our bags and gives us refrigerator rights for the greatest fruits imaginable in joy or peace or love or faith or grace or any quality of our great and mighty God.
One of my favorite parts of this verse though is David realizing that not only does he need the joy of salvation again after feeling so low for what he did, but asking God to give him a spirit of obedience. A spirit of saying yes to God no matter what it may mean because he knows that the only thing that will sustain him is not of this world, but the Creator of this world and all things. David knows that the only way he can keep going is by being connected to God. Connected to the Sustainer and Giver of life. David knows he needs to eat but the only thing that will satisfy him is to feast on God and His great love. He knows that nothing compares to God or knowing Him. He tasted and saw the goodness of God and wants to taste that goodness again (Psalm 34:8).
For me personally, I know that in those brief moments that I have an attitude of yes toward God that there comes one of the sweetest gifts with that. It is the gift of joy. When I actually obey God and do His Will that is one of the greatest and best gifts I could ever have. It is beyond compare. To simply say yes to God fills me with such sweet joy that I just want more of it. My desire is there, but so often my spirit isn’t. That is why I need to ask this daily, even hourly. I need a willing spirit, because God is my life and only He will sustain me. Not food or money or fame or relationships or success, but the simple joy of obedience. “I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:8, NIV)”
Today, I ask God for a willing spirit to sustain us. To restore the joy of salvation and be reminded of what He has done for us, who He made us and how great and awesome is our Great God. The God of peace, rest and everlasting joy. I pray that we will confess we haven’t always had joy in prayer or reading God’s Word or our relationship. We confess that, but ask God to help us and may we receive his joy.