Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.Psalm 34:5 (NLT)
My coach in high school had a crazy sense of humor. Given that he was less than 10 years older than most of us, he was basically like a big teen. I remember vividly on one trip to a basketball tournament we all decided to go and get food in the middle of the night – like 1:00 AM. We learned there was only one diner open at that time of night, so we all piled in the van and took off, not really sure where we were going (this was before the age of GPS). We found ourselves out in the country. It was pitch black. There was no moon out that night and no street lights; just darkness. Suddenly, our coach turned off the headlights and began screaming, “We’re all gonna die!” Given that none of us had ever been on this road before, and we were travelling at about 70 MPH, the odds were definitely in our favor. Here’s the thing, he left the lights off for a good 10 seconds – which seemed like an eternity. So, there we were, flying down the road, in the black of night, unable to see any turns, bumps, fences, potholes, or wildlife up ahead. Of course, while we were freaking out, coach was laughing hysterically.
Sometimes life feels like that moment. It moves so fast, and everything seems to be going well, when all of a sudden, BAM! Things get very dark. Whether it’s personal issues, family drama, addictions, the loss of friends, getting fired from work, or whatever horrible thing happens, it seems that the lights go out on life and we’re stuck in darkness.
King David was no stranger to this aspect to life. He had some big moments of darkness (I.e. He killed his best friend, slept with that friend’s wife, and lost the son which resulted from the affair). Yet, even in the darkness, he would remember his joy in life; his relationship with God. It’s because of this that he was able to pen our verse today, “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.”
In other words, when we have a real relationship with Jesus, even in the dark times of life, we will still have joy. Joy doesn’t come and go like happiness can. Instead, joy is knowing that no matter what may come, your God will never leave your side and He is fighting for you every step of the way. Joy doesn’t leave when we screw up and sin. Joy is there to remind us that we have a Savior who forgives and who removes our shame. Joy is everlasting.
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