“But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!”
– Psalm 68:3
It’s a great encouragement to be around people who are genuinely joyful. Beyond passing moments of circumstantial happiness, joyful people almost always seem to be at peace, reflecting a quiet sense of gratitude and tranquility. The Apostle Paul writes of this in Philippians: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Joy is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the genuine believer. Our modern culture provides more comforts and pleasures than any in history, yet the western world is about as unhappy a society as there’s ever been. French writer and philosopher Pascal wrote, “If our condition were truly happy, we would not seek diversion from it in order to make ourselves happy.”
In Christ, our happiness is not tied to the external, but in the blessing of joy that comes from the Spirit. Even in the most difficult of times, our hope and joy remains firmly grounded in the assurance that in Christ, we are free from sin and death and look forward to an eternal reward.
Fanny Crosby captured this in these memorable words:
“Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”
She penned that lyric in 1873. Blessed Assurance was one of over 8,000 gospel hymns that she wrote in her lifetime, even though she lost her sight as an infant due to a medical mistake. Entering the New York Institute for the Blind at age 12, she had already begun writing poetry, including this one written when she was only 8 years old:
“Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.”
While at school, Fanny would dictate her poems to the male secretary on staff at the Institute. They were reprimanded more than once for “wasting the school’s time.” The male secretary’s name was Grover Cleveland. In later years, he would set aside important presidential affairs to take dictation for his White House Guest, Fanny Crosby. Her hymns continue to be sung throughout the world.
As the May flowers begin to bloom in our yards—or even if they don’t—may we be filled today with the joy of Christ and take as our theme this refrain:
“This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.”
With my love in the Lord Jesus,
P.S. Coming up May 8-10 is the Basics Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders. Sinclair Ferguson and Al Mohler will be our guest speakers. I invite you to participate by watching the conference live at basicsconference.org. Your faithful partnership in this ministry funds the live stream of this event allowing men from around the world to participate virtually. Thank you for supporting the local church by giving to Truth For Life.
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg