I’ve always had a thing for sunshine. It’s the reason summer is my favorite season. The sun doesn’t just supply light; it warms my bones and gladdens my soul. I tend to feel more spiritually alive on days when the sun is bright and the sky is blue.
Maybe you’re the same way. Maybe sunshine and warmth and June afternoons are what generate your joy. Maybe cloudy, cold, cantankerous weather dampen you. Maybe your joy fluctuates from season to season.
Could it be that our joy is flimsy?
Faulty, Flimsy Joy
Last October, the floor of an apartment building in Clemson, South Carolina collapsed. Homecoming partiers were dancing across the clubhouse floor when it buckled under their feet. Students fell head over heels into the gaping hole, thirty of them suffering injuries.[i]
Clemson’s clubhouse reminds me of my joy. It feels good and safe and light, but truthfully, I’m dancing across faulty floorboards. I’m one heavy burden or wind gust away from complete collapse.
I know Christ should be my joy’s only foundation. And when life is sweet, it’s easy to claim he is. But as I’ve wrestled the burden of anxiety lately, these floorboards have quivered. God used doubts and discomforts to expose the fragility of my joy.
It isn’t what I thought it was. It isn’t wind-proof, or fireproof, or even doubt-proof.
It’s dangerously flimsy.
Faultless and Unwavering Joy
With my anxieties reigning, I trudged through my reading of Numbers several mornings ago. Mark’s gospel didn’t stir me either. My faith tasted stale. I sat cross-legged on the couch and peered out into the fog.
“God,” I prayed, “please fill me with your joy.”
Then I flipped to Psalm 16.
Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:9-11).
David knew storms. Trials and grief and his own sinful heart plagued Israel’s young king. But here I saw those sufferings eclipsed by something brighter:
Joy in God. Utter delight. Unflagging surety. Fullness of pleasure in his presence.
I want that joy. Oh, if I could sing like David, no matter the circumstance! If I could smile in spite of the storm! How much sweeter would my life be? How much richer? How much more hopeful?
David’s joy is a far cry from my flimsy optimism. It isn’t positive thinking. It isn’t hollow happiness. It’s real, unfabricated, trial-tested joy in God. It’s joy with a faultless foundation.
But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his” (2 Tim. 2:19a).
Joy with a Foundation
The Lord knows those who are his. Wearing a robe of righteousness, blanketed in holy blood, I am his. Because of Jesus, I stand on a stone foundation—I stand on the Cornerstone. And this seals my joy.
Because of Jesus, I stand on a stone foundation—I stand on the Cornerstone. And this seals my joy.
At the cross, Christ coated my joy with an impermeable varnish. It’s stormproof, fireproof, doubt-proof, even Devil-proof. Why? Because the blood of Jesus bridges the joyless chasm of death. Jesus’ blood promises a glory-teeming, joy-bursting eternity with him.
These glories will eclipse the darkness and even the sunshine. They will gladden me and warm me and make me rejoice like nothing else can. Eternal hope in Jesus Christ will be a steadfast foundation of joy that never buckles.
It will be a foundation that’s far from flimsy.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Pt. 1:3, 8-9).