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Singing Psalm 70 for joy in sorrow

Singing Psalm 70 for joy in sorrow accepting your low state

What does it take to have joy in sorrow?

To have joy in sorrow is to celebrate the highness of God who lowered himself to love you, and in turn, to accept your low state with immense gratitude.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom,    nor fruit be on the vines,the produce of the olive fail    and the fields yield no food,the flock be cut off from the fold    and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord;    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.God, the Lord, is my strength;    he makes my feet like the deer’s;    he makes me tread on my high places.” ~ Habakkuk 3:17-19

You are in great company with the man of sorrows who was betrayed, denied, and rejected yet came to bring you joy in sorrow – joy overflowing and life to the full mixed in with the trials and suffering of life in a fallen world.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” ~ Isaiah 53:3

Bringing your sorrow to the Lord involves sharing your hurts, trusting him to change your perception or the circumstances that would relieve your suffering, and waiting alongside him until he does it.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Joy in sorrow comes from waiting and watching him turn those who seek to do harm as he turned you from dishonor, confusion, and shame.

“Let there be shame and confusion     On those who seek my life.Turned back be they and dishonored    Who in my hurt delight.” ~ Psalm 70:2

Singing Psalm 70 for joy in sorrow seeking the one who is gentle and lowly in heart

There are times when you know what people think about you, and it isn’t pretty. One way or another, you don’t measure up to their expectations or even to your own. You might suffer from imposter syndrome where you are the one saying “Aha! Aha!” to yourself because you have failed to live up to some worldly standard you have set for yourself.

When hopeless thoughts threaten to break through, singing Psalm 70 helps you resist them. Your own lips, empowered by meditating on God’s truth, sing those deceitful thoughts out the window of your mind and watch them fall to their death on the ground where they belong.

As one of God’s adopted children, it is a disgrace to jeer at anyone, including yourself.

Or maybe, like David, you are doing too good a job. You are somehow inadvertently showing up those who are over you. Though you are succeeding at what you sent out to do, you might see nothing but failure in your relationships.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus talks you off the ledge. He is your best friend and might even give you a Jonathan with whom you can be vulnerable until you see him face-to-face. He has taken your failure and given you his success. He teaches you the way it works in his economy. 

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” ~ James 4:8-10

You bring him nothing but your sin and struggles. He gives you everything. He gives you this joy in sorrow so that you will have nothing to boast about except for him. It’s the best deal going, and once you let go of your pride, you will have joy in sorrow as you receive what you don’t deserve and don’t receive what you do deserve. You find that your sorrow is more so a response to your sins than to your difficult circumstances. You despise living in ways that grieve the Holy Spirit.

Paul expressed his joy in sorrow as he was treated as an imposter but yet was true, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as having nothing, yet possessing everything. This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus: to pray continually, to give thanks in all circumstances, and to rejoice always.

Making little of self and much of Jesus you experience joy in sorrow, the joy of exalting him in the sorrow of having to hold yourself back from wanting to be exalted.

You believe in Jesus that he is your reward to such a degree that when others say false things against you, steal your stuff, and even hate you on account of him, you have leaping joy in sorrow for them.

“Hasten O God, to my rescue;    Hasten to help, O LORD.” ~ Psalm 70:1

Singing Psalm 70 for joy in sorrow anticipating the greatest rescue of all time

You seek the Lord to hurry to help and save. Knowing that you are heard, you eagerly wait with patience because you are sure of a victorious outcome. His promises are as good as done. Jesus gives you lasting joy in sorrow having swiftly answered you at the cross already. You await the fullness of his love with sure hope that he is coming for you only because of his faithfulness.

“See, from his head, his hands, his feetSorrow and love flow mingled down,Did e’re such love and sorrow meetOr thorns compose so rich a crown?” ~ from Isaac Watts’ When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

You move through life with joy in sorrow because you know what is coming at just the right time. The certainty is joyful. Learning to wait and yield can be sorrowful. God determines when the right time is, and he is never late.

Jesus gave you his commands that you would take every thought captive to obey him, so that you would abide in his love and have his fullness of joy. Yet his soul would become sorrowful even to death in the process of saving you.

You remember what the triune God has done, is doing, and will do, and whether you look at it through a microscope or through a telescope, his glory is magnified. He satisfies you with joy in sorrow that you will forget.

“For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” ~ Ecclesiastes 5:20

He will hasten to change you in the twinkling of an eye from mortal to immortal, from sinful to pure in heart, from self-serving to God-glorifying, from a decaying body to a lasting body, from joy in sorrow to pure joy.

“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” ~ Isaiah 61:7

“Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” ~ Jeremiah 31:13

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” ~ John 16:20-24

“But I am poor and afflicted;   Hasten to me, O God!You are my help and my Savior;    O LORD, do not delay.” ~ Psalm 70:5

The sorrow of parting will yield to the joy of reuniting. The greatest joy in sorrow will bid you adieu once it has fulfilled its purpose of enriching your newfound, standalone joy. It will then be uncoupled and free as you cherish the richness of uninterrupted, untarnished time with the Lord, for whom you were made, forever.

“Let those who seek You be joyful,    Let them be glad in You;Let those who love Your salvation    Say, ‘God be magnified!’” ~ Psalm 70:4

October 8-13, 2023


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