Restoring Joy

[Please enjoy this guest post from my wife Katie.]

We know the feeling of being “on fire” for God.

Much like the burning passion that new lovers feel in the peak of a relationship. Or the deep longing a mother feels to meet the long-awaited-for child in her womb.

But then time passes by. Life happens. The relationship turns to coordinating schedules, making weighty decisions about bills/children/in-laws, and taking care of the mundane responsibilities of life that fail to ignite that deep joy we had once known. New babies — with the added kisses, hugs, and smiles — lead to lots of cleaning, laundry, bills, and carpooling and little to no rest. There may be no set routine (as much as new moms and dads try to establish one), but you find that the element of unpredictable sleep patterns leave little room for a person to experience even a minute amount of joy.

Over time, you find yourself getting frustrated with that individual that you waited for, prayed for, and felt so much stirring passion for. The passion fades.

This can also happen in our relationship with Christ.

At salvation, many of us are ready to shout from the rooftops the amazing love that we have just experienced and freely share the overwhelming feeling of emotion that it inspires with every passerby. There is burning passion in that relationship with Christ – we are on fire.

Then life happens. After some time spent proclaiming our faith, devouring Bible studies, bathing every day in prayer, we fall into a routine. The routine becomes predictable, safe, and unexciting. We don’t feel that same burning passion we once felt. We lose the joy.

At this point, many Christians may be tempted to question their salvation. We may be tempted to seek out something new, raw, and emotion-filled, and that search could possibly lead us down a path of sin.

Maybe David was searching for that very thing when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Even with the riches and power that comes with being king, disenchantment can still happen.

However, David’s reaction when his sin was exposed is worth noting. In Psalm 51, he offered a prayer to the God for whom he had once felt burning passion. He asked for mercy and forgiveness for his transgressions. Then, possibly in recognizing the feelings of disinterest that led to his sin, he asked that God would restore the joy of His salvation.

For relationships that lose their spark, a date night or weekend getaway can rekindle the fire. For mothers who have begun to question their decision to parent, an unsolicited hug from an otherwise independent toddler or an out-of-the-blue “Mommy, I love you” can be sincerely heartwarming.

For the believer, a simple prayer from a longing heart can be enough to reignite the joy we feel for our Savior.

Editor’s Note: No song more beautifully captures this truth than Jon Foreman’s rendition of Psalm 51, “White as Snow.” 

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