“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” Psalm 4:7
Our joy comes from the Lord. If you’ve ever experienced deep pain, you know the only joy you have, whether a little or a lot, is not mustered up from your own strength. There’s no earthly explanation for joy in the midst of suffering. Only the Lord.
I’ve written before about how living here can be painful. Not necessarily personally, but sometimes just hearing stories and seeing the pain in the faces of those around can bring you to your knees. Sometimes it’s a daily battle. There is so much injustice around us. No child should have to sleep on the floor. No toddler should be left alone to defend for themselves. No precious life should be sold for the survival of their family. If it was up to me, no child would ever feel hunger or pain. Their eyes would be protected from the things happening around them. Yet these things happen. Oh, how I wish I could stop them. My heart aches terribly for the injustice to stop.
And then I hear His voice. “Stop fretting, my daughter. You are not the only one who despises injustice. You’re not the only one who longs for justice. For peace. For love.”
The Psalms are filled with words that remind me that the Lord is so much bigger than I am. Yet He is so personal. Page after page is the truth that the Lord cares for the broken. The needy.
The hurting. He cares. He longs for justice. And one day, He will bring justice and there will be no more pain. No more tears. No more aching and longing. It will be gone.
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
“For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.”
“O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart;
you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”
“Because the poor are plundered,
because the needy groan,
‘I will now arise,’ says the Lord;
‘I will place him in the safety for which he longs.’”
The truth that the Lord is a God of justice, a God who loves, a God who cares, doesn’t stop there. That truth fills the pages of the Bible. What a sweet peace that brings when the suffering and injustice of the world seems too much to bear. The God of the universe holds all of it in His hands.
And that’s where joy is found.
Joy is found in the hands of the Lord. I see it on the faces of these children. The world has been cruel to them in their short little years. Some of them wear their pain on their faces. Yet even the pain cannot outshine the joy in their hearts that has only come from the Lord. There’s just something about those smiles. You can see it. You can see it all around them. You can see it in their eyes.
Joy doesn’t just come when justice does. Joy is always there in the hands of the Lord. We just have to open our hearts to feel it. Although there may still be injustice in the world, the joy of the Lord is here. It’s abounding. It’s contagious. And one day, there will be justice & joy and the world will rejoice.
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for you,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.”
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.”