January 10, 2018

Psalms 9:1-2… I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I will be glad and exult in you. I will sing  to your name, oh most high.

            When I was a young man, learning the ways of God, I read verses like these and tried my best to think in the manner they describe. Some days I did not feel gladness. On those days I tried to think about the goodness of God and change my tune. David, the purported writer of this psalm, did not seem to go through the thoughts I did. This has been on my mind a lot lately. Can we decide to be joyful, without damaging or ignoring the facts? My thoughts are gathering around this: there are times of sadness in life. That is a fact and I can’t ignore it. But, the Bible tells us that. “though sorrow may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning.” From that we learn that sorrow is not a continuing state of mind. Joy is to be our resting place… our preset.

            When a man sins, is it a righteous man failing? Or a sinner acting out? One cannot know except by looking in the heart. And, we can’t see there. God sees into our hearts at all times. Are you a joyful person who is occasionally sad? Or are you a sad person who is occasionally glad? Mostly people believe they will be glad when certain circumstances get better. They are not talking about gladness that God gives; they are talking about situational gladness.

            I am married to a person who is wired to be joyful. She told me once that when she is sad, it is only a matter of time before that changes. I have approached life as one who needs to acknowledge the facts of sadness that hurt people every day. I am not inherently sad; I just pay attention to sadness. And that has been my pondering of late… Am I missing the joy of the Lord because I choose to remember sad things?

            Last week, Karla reintroduced an old song to the church… “Count your blessings.” I sang that a lot as a kid and I remember wanting to do that someday. Look at your memory file; is it full of sad events or is it mostly full of good events? Where is your heart? Remember the good things that God has done. Make a file of those and live in gladness.