Experiencing Joy in Times of Discouragement
Like many of you, I periodically experience times of discouragement. During these times, I fight it by engaging in self-talk similar to Psalm 116:7—“Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.”
These words from Titus 3 have encouraged and renewed me. Each word is reason for praise:
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)
These thoughts are based on the passage:
This is the redemptive power of God’s good news. When we receive good news it should make us happy. If the Gospel doesn’t make us happy, perhaps what we’ve accepted isn’t good news (and is therefore not the Gospel), but a burdensome bad-news religion. Or maybe we haven’t truly embraced it and experienced its implications in our hearts. We need to daily remind ourselves of what the gospel means, and cheer ourselves daily with God’s good news that should never get old for us.
Few of us will experience in our lifetimes as much utter desolation as Jeremiah faced. In a book written at a time in Israel’s history so sad that it is called Lamentations, there is still a transcendent happiness:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
This defies explanation. It is a joy that flows from being immersed in who God is and what He has done for us. It’s the new, fresh, daily experience and contemplation of the unceasing steadfast love of God, and His great faithfulness to us. What else can this do but make us happy and give us strength for the day ahead?