Merciful Joy

Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
but to Your name give glory,
for the sake of Your steadfast love
and Your faithfulness.
Psalm 115:1
Regarding this passage, John Piper in God’s Passion for His Glory says: “We don’t want the glory, we want the free and unmerited lovingkindness. In this rejoice, and in rejoicing, God alone is glorified. He gets the glory, we get the merciful joy.
Those last two words gripped me. What an interesting, amazing phrase. These two words did not seem initially compatable in my mind. My joy is my joy, is it not? I enjoy the birds, the sunset, my children. I enjoy time with my husband. Movies. Reading. Stamping. I forget, so often, that any amount of my joy is from the hands of God. It is a foreign thought, is it not? That I can enjoy anything in this world at all is because of His mercy.
We assume in our culture the sense of fairness. Everyone deserves equal treatment. Homosexuals with equal rights as a heterosexual couple. Equal opportunities for education. And a sense of entitlement that goes with it. Kids that deserve their own car at 16, because their friends all have one… Man is, so obviously, inherently good in the world’s eyes. And deserves the best.
And, in our churches this stretches to the point of often demoting grace. We do not realise we have done it most times. It just does not seem fair of God to let some suffer. He does not seem loving to let children starve to death before their fifth birthday. We have, in effect, agreed with the world’s opinion of God, and our situation before Him. But, have we forgotten that we are saved in our tresspasses and sins? (Ephesians 2:1) DEAD to God. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in me that merits His grace. So fully against God when He stretched out His nail-scarred hand to me, His enemy.
We take the pleasures of this world for granted. Every second of joy is because our Lord has allowed it. In His mercy, He has been merciful to a wretch like me! Merciful joy? Yes, even merciful to everyone that does not know Him. Every breath man takes is mercy.
May I praise God for this breath. And the next. Praise Him for the joy I can find in this world. May it be joy in Him! May I remember, and be reminded by His Spirit, to delight in what is here, only as I thank Him for it!

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