We just experienced another holiday season and we are now into a new year.
The very first day of the New Year is one in which we typically say, “Happy New Year.” In the middle of the night I woke up thinking about this phrase and thought to myself that God hasn’t called us to happiness, but He has called us to follow after Him and to seek Him above all else.
Indeed, God wants to bless His children, but this life is not one that would be strewn with rose petals upon our every step that we take.
‘”Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall,’ we are told. We all experience sorrow and yet there are times of intense joy that we find as well.
I’ve always considered that joy is something that is much deeper than happiness. Happiness is dependent usually upon our circumstances.
One may become happy after they receive some money in the mail, or after eating a home-cooked meal that was good.
But even when the pipes freeze or the water heater goes out, one can experience a communion with God that simply goes way beyond the present circumstances of the day or week, or a time period.
The psalmist experienced many low and many elevated times during his life. He knew what it was like to have lost a child, and yet he was also the one that danced in front of many as his robes fell and he worshiped God in the dance unashamedly.
“Then David danced with all his might before The LORD. He had on a holy linen vest. David and all the Israelites shouted with joy and blew the trumpets as they brought the Ark of The LORD to the city.” 2 Samuel 2:6:14-15.
I get tired of the many comments I experience at times, especially when someone flippantly says,
“How’s it going?” And typically they really don’t want to know, because sometimes they just walk away without wanting to hear the answer.
We are a people who may well give a reply like, “It could be worse,” or “This too shall pass.”
No one really can share another person’s sorrow because each of our journeys in this life are personal.
And yes we have a Father who knows these things and is there to share in our sorrow or grief, and will in time, lift us up to be placed upon a rock.
But I see that many in the body of Christ expect others to always be filled with joy, no matter what the circumstances are, and they are quick to give what they think is an apt reply.
But many times these replies are like salt upon a wound. They penetrate to the heart and cut deep.
We need to accept the ups and downs of people around us, and not be so quick to give a reply to them.
Our LORD was a man of sorrows and was acquainted with grief. Why then should we expect others to always have a great smile upon their face, and a bounce in their step?
Perhaps it is because these things penetrate to the heart, and it can make the hypocrite feel uneasy.
The psalmist also knew and experienced sorrow as well:
“For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.” Psalm 102:9.
But David also knew that God would deliver him out of all his troubles. And because of this deep faith and trust that he had in Him, he believed in spite of the circumstances around him, that God would ultimately deliver him, and this brought him joy and peace.
Psalm 57 describes David as The LORD strengthened him in the cave and prepared him for what was next.
1. Psalm 57 shows David with a humble heart: Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! (Psalm 57:1)
2. Psalm 57 shows David with a prayerful heart: I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. (Psalm 57:2)
3. Psalm 57 shows David with a realistic heart: My soul is among lions . . . they have prepared a net for my steps. (Psalm 57:4,6)
4. Psalm 57 shows a heart of trusting praise to The LORD: I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations . . . Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:9,5,11)
5. The LORD brought David into this place while He was still in the Adullam cave. We often think we have to get out of the cave until we can have the heart David had in Psalm 57. But we can have it now, no matter what our circumstances.
So in closing, I won’t say ‘Happy New Year!’
Instead I will say,
“Have a year filled with many things, but let all of those circumstances lead you to trust and put your hope in Him who will bring you through ALL things, and enable you to triumph over any circumstance, and then to become joyful.
But be accepting of others, not expecting them to always be a ray of sunshine. Learn the valuable anecdote of compassion and understanding.”
Original version: January 2, 2014.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to The LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?