Presence Devotion #40

Joy in God

Matt Destry

Scripture

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Insight

“I just want to be happy!”

Have you ever heard somebody say that? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself. We live our lives with a drive to find happiness. Many relationships start due to overwhelming happiness and then they end, because the relationship, “did not make me happy”.

We strive for, delight in and are driven towards the happiness of our souls. “The ultimate result of all ambition” said Samuel Johnson, is “to be happy at home”. We crave a sense of happiness in our hearts because we were created for it. The space that occupies our hearts is meant to be fulfilled with warm, compassionate joy. But, our search for happiness can lead us to dark places.

Many crimes are committed thinking that on the other side of the act, will be happiness. Or at least relief. Many lies are told in order to secure a future happiness that one does not currently have. But this is folly, because you cannot do evil in order to secure the good. A misdirected pursuit of joy will always end in the opposite spirit.

We have been created for more! Far from being satisfied with earthly things (if we are only created for what we see, let us ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’), we have been born to hunger and thirst for righteousness. CS Lewis testifies: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Our drive for joy exists, and it is strong. The Scripture declares that in Christ we can find fulness of joy! This is because He created us, and He knows how to bring fulfilment to our lives. A far cry from the poor caricature of the joyless believer, our lives are to be full of joy, love, peace, and yes, even happiness. These things are our inheritance even in times of trial and pain – because they are to be found in Christ, the one who gave Himself for us. To know God is to know joy – Samuel Johnson again: “the size of a man’s understanding might always be justly measured by his mirth”. In other words, the more we know of God, the happier we should become.

So, turn to Him. Love Him. Run to Him. Knowing that when you do, your soul finds what it was created for.