The Way Back to Joy

Yael Eckstein  |  January 30, 2023

IFCJ staff member greeting Ukrainian refugee Nataliia Berkhstein with an IFCJ food box in hand.

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.
—Psalm 28:7

Today, I continue with a new devotional series on joy, simcha — the joy found in the grateful acceptance and celebration of each day God has given to us. Join me as we explore teachings on the joy found in connecting with God and with others.

Finding joy and happiness is a growing problem in our culture. According to a recent study, more than 10 percent of all Americans take prescription antidepressants. And this number is only rising. So many people are struggling to find joy in their lives.

The irony is that joy is our natural state. A baby is naturally happy and only cries when something is hurting or if he or she is hungry. As soon as the need is filled or the pain goes away, babies go back to being happy. We are wired to be joyful and content — it’s only when our worry-filled thoughts get in the way that we sabotage the joy that is rightfully ours.

God wants us to be filled with joy. Psalm 100 tells us to “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” (v.2). How can we get joy back into our lives and a song into our hearts?

The Way Back to Joy

Let’s turn back to King David. He wrote, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

This verse appears to be saying two ideas. First, that God was David’s savior, and also that David was joyful and grateful. But this is one verse. And David was teaching us one idea. David saw God as the source of his strength, and therefore he had joy and a song in his heart.

The Jewish sages teach that if we spend one hour in sorrow with God, we will be happy and tranquil for the other 23 hours of the day. In other words, the way back to joy is to trust God for everything. If we cast our burdens and give our troubles to God, if we trust Him to take care of us and we give Him complete control of our lives, we will free ourselves to be content the rest of the time.

As David wrote in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Once we express our worries and give them to God, we can go about our day with joy.

Your Turn:

Today and every day, cast your cares to God. Then we can get that joy back into our lives, and like David, sing a grateful song!