It is hard to have joy in a day when the daily newscasts compete with who finds the most gloominess. In a day when the government is spending our grandchildren’s money as if it were water. When inflation is rising and salaries are diminishing, on a day when rogue dictators are attacking innocent free people, we wonder where our joy has gone. What sadness pervades our world! What despair! So many are left with the question of is there anything worth waiting for in life? Is there anything to hope for in this world?
God sees the gloom and sadness of our world. He sees our blindness caused by the darkness we have become accustomed to in this messed-up world. In the words of Isaiah, God gives us some incredible encouragement that can give us fresh joy! “In that day, the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see. Once more, the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (Isa 29:18-19).
God says there is coming a day when he will completely open our eyes, and we will see what we cannot see now. The most challenging questions that we could never find an answer to will be answered on that day. We will receive fresh joy from him. Our joy will come from him and be in him. We will laugh as we have never laughed. We will feel joy and excitement as we have never known it, but the good news is the joy is available now!
Israel was going in circles in their spiritual life with God. The prophet says, “Go on, keep up your religious routine, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Anytime God becomes monotonous and mundane, we are unplugged because God is anything but boring. “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Isa 29:13-14). Our part is to be authentic.
Our part is to be hungry for God. It is hard to eat a meal when you don’t have an appetite. Apathy and laziness bring poor results in our relationship with God, and they are both detestable to God. We need to be stirred. We need to see things the way they are and not how this world sees them. We need the power of God in our lives. We need his power to give us hope in a hopeless world. We need his power to serve him with authentic devotion that repels the very sight of mediocracy.
Our part is to live meek lives. “Once more, the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isa 29:19). Years ago, my son Eric took us to the top of the Capitol of our State of Missouri in Jefferson City. The Capitol is five stories high with a majestic dome overlooking the Missouri River. To get up to that dome, you have to walk a tiny staircase that slowly leads to the outside of the dome, where you see the city below. The staircase has a cage built around it, and I can tell you that it was not made for tall men. Not once but three times, I banged my head on the crossbars. Even after I had done so once, knowing what was ahead, I forgot, and then suddenly, I was reminded of the incompatibility of the steel crossbar and my head. As we live life, it will do us so much good if we learn to live our lives with humility and meekness. When we forget, God has placed crossbars at just the right places to help us remember that he wants humility from his people and not arrogance. If we learn this kind of submission, we will find fresh joy.
You can listen to the online teaching of “Fresh Joy” by Pastor Brooks by clicking here.