Read Psalm 86. As we continue our study of Psalm 86, today we look at the Psalmist’s request: “Restore joy to your loving servant once again” (v. 4 TPT). When some people consider joy, there is this misconception that joy is happiness; however, the two are different. Happiness is something that is based on a current condition or moment. For example, when it’s the weekend and you are able to relax with friends or family, you may say you are “happy.” But that happiness comes and goes. Eventually you go back to work or school. Eventually you are not gathered together around a fireplace or enjoying laughs while playing a board game.
Joy is different. Joy is something you have from anticipating or expecting something great. It is more permanent. Joy is not based on whether or not things are going well or not going well— again, it’s about about the expectation that good is coming. Why do we have joy as followers of Jesus? Because we know that this world is but a moment. We know that everything right now is temporary. We know that Jesus is returning again, and that all things will be made new, and justice will be had by all.
When the Psalmist asks God to restore his joy, it is quite fitting, because God alone can provide joy. It is because of His promises and His faithfulness that we can rest in Him despite the chaos of the world. It is because of the expectation we have that He will protect us, that He will provide for us, that He will see us through, that He is coming again, that when He appears all will bow down and worship, that one day suffering will end.
Today’s verse is interesting indeed because the request is a given. The Psalmist is asking for his joy to be restored, and then declaring “all I am is Yours.” This translates in the NIV as “I put my trust in You.” The ESV says it this way: “For to You, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.” The prayers for joy to be restored come with the promise that the Psalmist is giving himself to God— that he is putting his trust in God. In putting his trust in God, in drawing near to God in prayer— these actions of the heart bring with it the restored joy. Why? Because when we draw near to God, He draws near to us (Jame 4:8). As well, because He is the one who truly provides and restores joy. With the declaration by the Psalmist that he will put “his trust in God,” he is stating that he’s going to trust God— which is linked to the expectation of something great. Remember, joy is this expectation. Trust goes hand in hand with joy.
Today, let us thank Him for the inexpressible and glorious joy He provides. Remember, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8 NIV). Amen!