Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Some people put a lot of stock in being happy, but happiness has its definite limits. I have been happy professionally at times, feeling as though I am in the right fit and accomplishing good things only to lose it later on. I have been happy in personal relationships when there is no drama or controversy, but that can change quickly. I have even been happy in my faith when things seem to be going in the right spiritual direction and God is making things move, but even that fades when it is based on circumstances. Happiness is only a portion of what we can experience with God. It also is an emotion that seems to change and sway as life changes over time. What has benefited my Christian walk and elevated my spirit has not been momentary happiness here and there but the full joy that God offers when we remain in his presence.
In this Psalm, David is not waxing philosophical about the kind of feeling he had when the weather was nice or the work went smoothly. He is talking about something much deeper and more encompassing than that type of happiness. David is speaking of the fullness of joy, which tells us that nothing is lacking. It is a joy that is complete in that it offers everything that comprises joy. It is not surprising that we find this kind of joy when we are in God’s presence, spiritually face-to-face with the Father. To experience the full joy that God offers means to come to an understanding of its completeness and sufficiency to cover over any negative feelings or attitudes we experience. We receive the fullness of God’s joy in his presence when we recognize how privileged we are and how joyous we should be to have the right to stand before him through the work of Jesus Christ.
When I think about being in the presence of the Holy One, I cannot help but think about a joy that is completely fulfilling and overwhelming. Of course we would be overcome with joy when standing before the giver of all things, the unlimited provider, the bottomless well of love and mercy. Being in the presence of God and taking in all that He makes available to us exposes us to an immeasurable delight we find nowhere else, filling us to overflowing. In that moment, I cannot imagine having an iota of a thought about what else I might desire; his presence satisfies every need and want. It is not a little joy or some joy; it is full joy. The Father invites us to stand before him and partake of this unlimited pleasure. Father, thank You for imparting to us the joy that surpasses any sadness or misery we might experience, a joy that lacks nothing and offers everything.