Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation. James 1:2-4 admonishes us to meet every trial with joy…because ultimately the purpose of trials is to mature our faith in Him, which in turn completes us and we “lack for nothing.” To me that sounds like a great place to be!
Zephaniah 3:17 provides us with a constant source of joy by revealing insight into the heart of our loving, present heavenly Father. What is that insight? Simply this…you are a source of joy for your Creator. He rejoices and exalts over you.
Pastor Jim Denison helps us unpack this verse:
“The Lord your God is in your midst.” You can have joy today because your God is totally and powerfully present right where you are. You can have joy because you are not alone in anything you do. He longs to “do” life with you. (Deut. 31:6; Ps. 139:7-12; 1 Cor. 6:19)
“The Lord your God is a mighty one who will save.” You can have joy because you have been totally redeemed from the destitution of the world that surrounds you. You are His child, healed and set free through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
“He will rejoice over you with gladness.” You can have joy because your God rejoices over you. You are not a failure in his eyes. He loves who you are. He longs to fill you with the knowledge of His gladness today. You were made intentionally because your God longed to have a relationship with you.
“He will quiet you by his love.” You can have joy because your God will shepherd you to the still waters. His love will guide you to quiet places where your heart can be at rest. He will calm the areas of your life that are burdened and stressed by freeing you with the depths of His affections. He will quiet your troubled heart by His love.
“He will exult over you with loud singing.” To exult is to be joyful or jubilant because of a triumph or success. You can have joy today because your God sees you as a triumph. You have been transformed. You are a new creation. You are what God has most desired in the earth. He longs for intimate relationship with you. He wants to give you ears to hear His “loud singing” that you might have the same perspective for yourself as He has for you.
In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning says, “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” This insight is painfully and wonderfully true. May you come to the awareness of how deeply you are loved by your God today. May you allow God to love what you have deemed unlovable in your own life. And may the words of the prophet Zephaniah be a foundation on which you experience the overwhelming joy that comes from God’s inexplicable love for you.