“Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
- Psalm 51:12
This morning, my mom sent me a devotion on 1 Thessalonians 5:16. The phrase, “Always be joyful,” resounded in my heart and mind early in the day. As the day wore on, though, I had to pray Psalm 51:12 more than once. The weight of suffering in the lives of friends and family – the weight of the pain in this world…I began to attempt to carry this weight on my own, and guess what began to wane? Joy.
“Father, restore to me the joy of your salvation. Refresh my joy. Realign my devotion. Deepen my faith in your goodness.”
How’s your joy? Does it need a refreshing? A renewal? Are you tired? Are you weary? Are you finding it hard to remain joyful in the midst of the challenges of life?
Over and over again, we read words like these in Scripture: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say, ‘Rejoice!’” God is serious about joy – and not just a forced smile and faux happiness, but rather “subterranean joy that is simultaneous with, and deeper than, the greatest of our sorrows.” (D. Mathis)
You might be wondering…what in the world does this have to do with Hebrews 9? What does joy have to do with sacrifices and blood and covenants?
It has everything to do with it. It’s the how and the why of the joy He commands – and invites – us to partake in.
When we read Hebrews 9, we are reminded of the lengths to which God has gone to save our souls. We are reminded of the totality of our sin and the completeness of His sacrifice. We are reminded that we live in a privileged time in the history of the world, because we get to know and follow a Savior who lived, died, and rose again, rather than simply await His arrival on the scene.
When it feels like life is overwhelming – when you begin to try to carry the burdens you were never supposed to carry – remember this: God is unreservedly committed to your endless joy in Him. Remember the Jesus of Hebrews 9 who loves you and shed His blood for you. In this world, you will weep at times. You will struggle at times. You will have trouble. But take heart! He has overcome the world.
As we head into the weekend, may we be so in awe of His sustaining love, burden-bearing sacrifice, and redemptive grace that our hearts are filled with His joy. In response to Hebrews 9, may we pray – wholeheartedly – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
See you Sunday!