Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
(Lyrics from 1907 as written by Henry J. Van Dyke – Joyful Joyful We adore Thee)
The song quoted above is one that was rolling through my mind the other day. It was a tough day of not knowing what to do, and feeling incredibly helpless. Thinking through this song I realized I had some of the lyrics messed up so I looked them up. As I was reading and humming this song I got to this one part and it made me stop, honestly, I just stopped.
..drive the dark of doubt away
Sometimes when we are praying, and have the assurance that literally hundreds are praying and despite all of that prayers seem to have invisible answers, or ones that are answered so slow, or in different way than we pray….. if we are honest…. a whisper of doubt comes in. Its then we have to honestly realize that Jesus isn’t “genie in a lamp”, that we pray and poof everything will be coming up roses. He is deeper than we can begin to understand. Our minds are so limited in what we can see and understand about who He is. Just like we can’t sit and count each individual star with any accuracy, we cannot truly know God and how He thinks. I have heard myself say ” God thinks .. this… or that… or whatever.. who do I think I am that I would claim to know how He thinks! He is God!.. thats it… He is the great I am. I don’t know His thoughts so how can I understand His ways.
I will admit that over the past three months, (yes, three months already), I have prayed crying, rejoicing, smiling and bewildered. The doubt word dangled around in my brain until I remembered one thing. God is hearing the prayers, He is working and He is faithful. Prayers aren’t wishes, they are requests to the one and only God who has the power to change, move and affect each one of our lives. I don’t understand how that all works, or how His timing is, or anything at all really, but I do know that I trust Him. My doubt is not in Him, my doubt is a window to my fears. My worries, and the heavy heart I carry in times like this for my family.
So why was I thinking about this song? Joyful? Yep, joyful. It is in the true expression of joy that we can fully praise God.Joy isn’t the “let’s party whoop whoop” feeling. It is the quiet assurance that in the circumstance that He is still God, He is still working and He will walk it with us all the way. Satan is working hard on me / us right now to bring the “dark of doubt” in to sink us. Worry for Ashley and Corey, seeing the hurt in the girls Mom isn’t home and seeing the pain that she is going through, the devil uses those things to dig at my faith.
Well… it won’t work. Tonight I am standing on the promises of the Bible from Jesus himself. I am going to choose to sing with my heart and my mind “Joyful, Joyful I adore thee”, even though I don’t have a clue why things are so hard right now. Are you there? Is there a nudge of doubt in your heart? Is there a whisper of discontent or disconnection with God? Take some time to find quiet.. then praise Jesus. Pour praise to Him and give Him the honour and glory for being who He is. Not a genie in a bottle, but a loving faithful and true Saviour. Let’s learn how to do this together… one trial, one step one moment at a time.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
Love Hugs ‘n Prayers