Jamie Fuller | Servant Coordinator
I recently finished reading the book of Psalms. As I read, the Holy Spirit began to illuminate the words “shouts of joy” and “songs of praise” to me. I began to underline it everywhere I saw it. The Psalms include so many words of desperation and crying out to God, and yet, there are underlying themes of hope, trust, praise, and joy.
Often, you hear people shout for joy when their child makes that basketball shot, or when their favorite football team scores a touchdown. You may hear a celebratory “Yes!” when a long- awaited gift is received or when good news comes your way.
But what about when you realize that God is sustaining you, or when you are reminded of how very faithful He is, no matter what? What about when you feel the fullness of satisfaction in the Lord, even though nothing about your circumstance has changed? What about when you see a spiritual breakthrough in the life of someone you love? What about when you witness someone seek help or get delivered from addiction?
Would you be so bold to respond to the joy as it bubbles up inside of you? Is that joy so full in you that you would speak it out, sing it out, and let your soul release it? A shout of joy surely must make the powers of darkness tremble. (For an amazing account of this, read Joshua 6.)
I’m not talking about some showy display. I’m talking about authentic joy that only the Holy Spirit can give. Joy that springs up and cannot be contained. The kind that is compulsory and a response to a heart that is overflowing with praise. The joy that lifts your hands and makes you sing louder, and that is found in the heart of one who is choosing Jesus over anything else. The joy found in the heart of one worshiping in spirit and truth. The heart bursting with the love of Christ and responding unashamedly to who God is, what He’s done, and what He will accomplish.
We know that, as believers, this kind of joy abides within us and it may not always be displayed with a shout. Sometimes, it’s in the quiet, “it is well with me” moments. Sometimes it’s too hard to sing and we bring our quiet joy and tears to worship. He knows where we are at. Other times, it will generate audible praise, lift our hands, or bring us to our knees.
Shortly after this realization I found in the Word, I had a dream. I was in a worship service and this happened to me. I was full of praise. Shouting out. Free. The Holy Spirit can move in amazing ways and in my heart. I hope it was a glimpse into God’s heart for me.
Maybe we can’t shout for joy, YET. (Major hope-filled word right there.) But, what if my joy is bubbling up? What if yours is too? I pray that it is. I pray that dream will be a reality for me. I pray it becomes so for the heavy-hearted, the captive, and the discouraged too.
I love this promise:
Those who sow in tears
will reap with shouts of joy.
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
My hope is that those joy moments happen for all of us. May they happen in the mundane, on tough days when we offer a sacrifice of praise, with our families, in our cars singing to Jesus, and on Sunday mornings when we gather together.
Let us look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). He knew joy was coming!
He said His joy would be in us and our joy would be complete. (John 15:11). He rejoices over us with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I love to think that He might give a great shout for joy when His children obey or walk by faith, like we cheer for our kids. It’s fun to imagine that, when we shout for joy and sing, it is but an echo of His joy.
Consider these scriptures:
Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication;
And let them say continually, "The LORD be magnified,
Who delights in the prosperity of His servant."
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;
Sing the glory of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
Sing for joy to God our strength;
Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob.
O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
Let us rejoice and shout for joy!