You will make known to me the way of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11
One of the things 2020 did was to challenge us all, not just physically, but emotionally as well. There was the tension of being on lockdown, the anxiety that COVID could strike anyone anywhere, the mourning of friends and relatives who died, and the economical strain brought by the closing of businesses and the letting go of jobs.
Most of our prayers were in the route of peace. “Lord, we trust You; we believe in You…please grant us peace.” But joy? Joy seemed a harder fruit of the Spirit—as if it grew a mile away from peace!
And yet with Christmas and the New Year, we’ve been given a chance to re-calibrate our perspective; to remember and embrace the reasons for the holiday season.
Who is the reason for Christmas? We remind ourselves again. Who is the reason for the New Year?
Can we truly find joy in Jesus despite 2020?
In Psalm 16, the Psalmist, David, gives us a tremendous key in unlocking JOY in whatever circumstance: “in Your presence is fullness of joy” (v.11). And right before this verse, we see him saying,
“I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol
You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”
It wasn’t as if joy was an easy thing for David during the time he wrote this Mikhtam. He was indeed uttering a parallel for the future Savior; of Jesus as the “Holy One,” but just like any prophetic writing, there was also a level of the present. David knew what “shaking” meant; he knew what how it felt to be in deep trouble, to be faced with an impending, life-threatening doom (or else he wouldn’t use the reference to Sheol). And yet, he could speak of his heart being glad.
Why? Because David chose to set the LORD continually before him. He knew God’s character; that God was His Deliverer and Refuge. The fullness of David’s joy was found in the LORD’s presence. Again his words: “in Your presence is fullness of joy.”
If we find ourselves needing joy in our lives, then we can simply go to our God and bask in His presence. For where His Presence is, there is FULLNESS of joy—not just a fraction of it or a temporal time frame; but a fullness that can fill up our every cell and fiber of our being.
As the famous hymn goes: “Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King!” Let us put our Lord continually before us. Let us rejoice in His presence, wanting the fullness of Him; the fullness of JOY. He is Joy!
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.