I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
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 16:7-11
I'm the farthest thing from a thrill seeker. I like my feet firmly planted on the ground. As a kid, I settled for the merry go round instead of the rollercoaster. My dad eventually had enough of it and said we were going to tackle the fastest and tallest ride in the entire amusement park.
Even though the security bar locked in place, I felt far from secure. Not only was I utterly terrified; I was completely blind because I didn't have my glasses on. Knowing that worry and fear was getting the best of me, my dad continued to remind me to enjoy the ride and that he was right by my side.
A sudden jolt blasted us to what felt like space. Everything in me wanted to pass out. I had a death grip on my dad's hand. He chuckled and said, "Tony..it's okay. I'm here...open your eyes and enjoy the ride." Reluctantly, I did and to my surprise, the fear lessened. I was actually having fun. Grinning from ear to ear, I soaked every second of that ride in. So much so, that when we returned to the starting line, I begged my dad to go again.
Over the past few weeks, we've explored how to handle the disruptions that come with living in a broken world. Often, life feels like a roller coaster ride with all its twists and turns and highs and lows. It's up to us whether we face the journey with fear or faith.
What determines our response is remembering who is by our side. No matter what is going on around us, God is with us. He promised to never leave or forsake us. He took it a step further and entered our mess through the life of Christ. And after Jesus conquered the grave, He left us the Holy Spirit who provides us with wisdom and guidance. God lives within us. He's right by our side.
When we are overwhelmed and fearful, the Holy Spirit whispers, "I'm here...open your eyes and enjoy the ride." We can stand strong and be courageous in our current situation while facing the future with extreme confidence. The presence of God is where we find relief, contentment and even, joy.
The joy of the Lord is different than the happiness the world peddles. Happiness depends on perfect circumstances while joy remains unshakable no matter the environment. The source of our joy determines the strength of our joy. And since His joy remains unlimited, it means we can walk courageously into the future, down the tracks that lead toward a full life. Having experienced His faithfulness, we'll welcome each new day excited for another ride.
How can you face difficult circumstances with a joyous response and spirit?
God, I rest secure knowing not only are You with me, but that You provide me with wisdom and insight when the world doesn't make sense. I look to You and You alone to provide me with a joy that paves the way to contentment. Thank you for making known to me the path that leads to a full life. I pray that I would display the courage and faith to remain there. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.