|When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.|
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:18-19
I was told long ago that Christians are always happy people. I even knew of a Christian organization whose slogan was “The happiest people on earth.” I understand what they mean. However, this cannot be successfully interpreted to imply that Christians never experience times of sadness, or distress, or heaviness, or worry, or fear.
To imply that periods of heaviness of heart in matters of this life, in some way, makes us into people of less faith would be confusing at the very least. God is not disappointed in us because some event of this life caused us sadness or worry.
Rather, in our worries and distress, God is often finding us there, and looking for those inlets in our soul that allow Him to breathe His calmness into us. He constantly seeks to reassure us that our fragile emotions can be steadied again when our minds return to the remembrance of His presence and love.
The Psalmist tells us of his own experience of distress and anxiety in the 94th Psalm. When it felt out of control and his heart became preoccupied with worries and anxiety, the Lord’s love helped him up, and His comfort restored his joy.
Could it be that the Lord’s joy is ultimately not based on the circumstances around us, but that it is the gift of knowing and seeing Him there with us amid the circumstances? The comfort we have is from knowing His loving-kindness brings joy to us when natural happiness is hard to find.
If there is great anxiety in your heart today, or some deep distress – take a minute to breathe, and pray those words of the Psalmist. Ask God to find you in that place and hold you up in His unfailing love. May His Fatherly comfort restore your inner joy.
Rector, The Light of Christ Church