Part 10: When Joy Fades
When my parents' health disintegrated, their physical challenges turned into emotional ones. Being the only unmarried daughter, it fell to me to be their primary caretaker. But I wasn’t a victim here—I wanted to help my parents, and I was qualified to do so.
But as the years progressed, it became evident they were not going to get any better. Looking after my parents—managing their endless doctor appointments, administrating their medicines, keeping the house, working full-time, and lifting their spirits—all really took a toll upon me. Imperceptibly, I had begun to slide into depression. My life felt bereft of joy. I felt more isolated and wearier than ever. Even if happiness could have crept in, being in "robot mode" for so long would have made me numb to the feeling.
In my prayers, I kept asking the Lord to show me joy. The psalmist remarked that ‘the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory” (Psalm 149:4). The Lord reminded me that I was His daughter, and that fact alone pleased Him. But the joy was for the both of us. The very next verse encourages us to let this please us as well. “Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.”
Temporary happiness may elude us, but joy in the knowledge of a relationship with the Lord is permanent. Regardless of how hard this life gets, we can know that we have sonship with the King and Maker of the Universe. We are princes and princesses in the Royal Family. And even though our crowns may sometimes feel as if they are made of sticks and thorns rather than gold and velvet, we can remember that He wore it first. And we can look forward to rooms in palaces where no one will ever shed a tear again.
If my walk with the Lord has taught me anything, it’s that dark times are always followed by good ones. Storms do and always come to an end. Seasons of suffering—some longer than others—are succeeded by seasons of comfort. No matter how black things get, call on the Lord, and He will usher you to better moments in His perfect timing. Best of all, we can know for a fact that the Lord is with us. "For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)
Sarah Young’s devotional, Jesus Calling (10th Anniversary Edition), imagines Jesus comforting us with these words: “Do not judge a day as devoid of Joy just because it contains difficulties. Instead, concentrate on staying in communication with Me. Many of the problems that clamor for your attention will resolve themselves. Other matters you must deal with, but I will help you with them. If you make problem-solving secondary to the goal of living close to Me, you can find Joy even in your most difficult days.”
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” (Revelation 7:17)
"For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)
For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds. (Psalm 149:4-5)