Finding joy when life gets you down

Today’s verse is Psalm 51:12.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.

Psalm 51 is one of those classic Psalms that I always go to, generally after I realize how flawed I am or when I understand that I have done something wrong and need to seek forgiveness.

David wrote Psalm 51 after a little problem with a gal named Bathsheba, and if you don’t know the story, you can read it in 2 Samuel 11. It’s probably one of the darkest times in David’s life because he gets so far away from what God wanted for him, committing not only adultery but also murder to cover it up. This was David! The man after God’s own heart! How could he stoop so low?

It’s a good reminder that none of us knows what we are capable of when we act in our own interests and do the things that feel good instead of what God has told us is right.

I think it’s in 2 Samuel 12, God sends the prophet Nathan to confront David about his actions, and when David realized what he’d done, he wrote this Psalm.

If you have the chance to read the whole thing, you should. It’s an amazing song about seeking forgiveness and trying to find the way to get back on the right path again. It’s David’s heart earnestly desiring to get back to the place where He and God could be on the same page again.

In verse 10, David is begging God to give him a new heart and give his spirit a new life. And then we come to verse 12, David asking God to restore the joy of his salvation.

How many of us have been there before? Where the day to day struggles of living a Christian life in this world sap the joy right out of us? It’s so easy to focus on the troubles we have. It’s so easy to focus on everything that’s wrong around us. It’s so easy to focus on what we’ve done wrong or how we’ve failed or how we’ll never measure up.

But when we do that, we forget everything that God has done and is doing in our lives. We forget what He’s doing in other people’s lives. We forget what He’s doing around the world.

God is never still. He’s always active, and He’s always moving in people, whether they realize it or not.

Our salvation is the greatest gift that God has ever given us. It’s a free, no strings attached relationship where we can go to Him with any problem. There’s no time limit. There’s no hidden fees.

But even though our salvation can’t be lost once we accept it, our attitudes about it can falter becuase we get so mired down in the muck of the world. Either we fill our lives up with sin or with things that don’t matter or we’re so focused on the world and on ourselves and on our problems that the joy of our salvation gets buried under layers and layers of superfluous gunk.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without joy. I can exist, but joy is what brings hope to people. It’s one of the qualities that makes us different because we can face trials and troubles without losing the joy in our hearts. And we have that joy because we have Christ in our lives.

Don’t let the world distract you. Don’t let the difficulties and the problems you face get you down. Don’t let the heavy burden of responsibility you’re carrying convince you that God has forsaken you or that Jesus doesn’t understand. Keep your focus where it ought to be. Put your focus on God and ask Him to help you. Ask Him to give you a new heart. Ask Him to restore the joy of your salvation, and He will.


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