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Joy and happiness. We often use the two interchangeably. Happiness is defined as good fortune, pleasure, contentment, joy. Simply, the state of being happy. It’s an emotion, a feeling.
Joy has a similar definition, so it’s no wonder we get them confused. However, joy is deeper than that. I’ve experienced it, and so did the psalmist. The psalmist didn’t say that in the morning, after crying all night that he’d be bubbly and laughing, or delighted in his current situation. No, it’s runs deeper.
John Piper defines joy this way:
Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.
Joy isn’t something we can produce–only the Holy Spirit can–and only He can cause us to see beauty in ashes, joy in mourning, delight in Christ. On the other side of the deep dark night, sorrow gives way to joy, such a joy that cannot be explained aside from a work of the Holy Spirit.
This morning, a song and a verse were on my mind. In the Morning When I Rise give me Jesus.
Weeping lasts for the night, but joy come with the morning
Nights can get long…ask any mom of a newborn, multiply that by two or three, and you’ve go the makings of an eternal night! When our twins were newborns, we dreaded dusk. It meant we had to endure the long night–again.
Sorrow can most definitely last for weeks…months…years. The ESV says that joy comes with the morning. Just as surely as the sun will rise, joy will come again. Many times we have to intentionally seek it. Sometimes we have to lay aside our sorrow and tell God how tired we are of the dark night, begging him to meet us there and carry us through. Gradually, the clouds are rolled away. It starts small, like the little break in the clouds, letting just a sliver of sunshine through. Eventually, though, the clouds completely give way, and the sun is warming us once again.
As I sit here this morning listening to the geese fly overhead and watching the rain clouds roll by, my heart is so overwhelmed with thankfulness. I am thankful for God’s grace and healing power in my life. He is gracious and merciful.
God be glorified in our lives, in our story, in our love for Him and for each other. We can’t think on what God has done for us and not experience joy. May we all be reminded that God’s Word promises that joy comes with the morning!