Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
I’ve been reading this, and the rest of the verses in Psalm 90 just about every day recently.
This transition of preparing to head back overseas has been one of our toughest yet. We thought we would be getting better at this the more we did it, but it seems to be the opposite. We are truthfully very excited about aspects of going back, and looking forward to them. But for a variety of reasons, it has still been a bit of a battle to hold on to joyful obedience in this season.
Enter my search to understand biblical joy better.
I have had somewhat unclear ideas of what joy in my daily life should look like for a long time. I kept telling myself that I would sit down and put some thought and study into it, but never quite made the time. I know what joy doesn’t look like (and sadly I have seen myself acting in those ways). It doesn’t look like feeling sorry for myself, or doing the things that need to be done but having a bad attitude about it. It isn’t begrudging obedience.
I also knew that joy shouldn’t be a fake or trite expected response to the “How are you doing?” question. I can’t and most of the time shouldn’t pretend that I am alright just because people expect it of me. Being real without wallowing… truth but not self-pity. It’s such a tricky business.
It has felt at times like I’m walking on a tight-rope that only I know about as I navigate the different conversations in these past months. My thoughts have run wild: I want to be honest, but what if that was over sharing? I hope I wasn’t sounding ungrateful to the Lord. Did I sound like I was doubting? I hope they don’t think that I’m not happy to go back. I’m terrible at pretending to be ok. I cried… again!
So, I finally sat down with my Bible and started looking through verses talking about joy. One of the things that I noticed was that it usually seemed to be an obvious outward manifestation of something in the heart. Many of the verses where it was mentioned (and I have many left to look at so don’t quote me) were reactions to things that God had done, or related to celebrations and worship of him. But still… My main question was how I could choose joy when it wasn’t just bubbling up. What then?
I had already been reading Psalm 90 and suddenly verse 14 leapt out at me. Satisfy us with your unfailing love [so] that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. This was the answer I’d been looking for. This is the answer that I have been looking for. Where do I find my joy when circumstances are difficult and joy isn’t natural? His unfailing love.
My satisfaction is based on His love. His unchanging love. His faithful, soul saving love. As goodbyes have loomed, and the house looks less and less like a home and more and more like piles of semi-organized chaos; as old and new fears spring up and we have that conversation about grieving and processing for what feels like the seventh or eighth or eightieth time that day; as we try and fail and try again to do this whole thing to the glory of God, His faithful love has never wavered.
So in the morning, I remind myself of what His love looks like. When I feel like I am at the end of my rope the first, second, third or twentieth time a day, I remind myself of what His love looks like. When I start dreading the goodbyes I remind myself of what His love looks like. And because God is gracious and His Word is true, as I focus on His unfailing love, I am satisfied.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.