I’ve always been the type of person that hates letting people know that I feel down. Every time I feel as if my life and spiritual walk are running dry and my heart feels empty, I put on a mask of happiness and joy. I use Biblical knowledge and wisdom to say that “my life is great and my walk with the Lord is thriving.” I feel as if I always have to be the guy that has his stuff all together and he has this Christian-walk thing figured out. But the truth is that is far from the truth. Often times I feel empty and broken.
This post is for the times when my joy runs dry.
Robert Robinson, author of one of my favorite hymns “Come Thou Fount,” has quite a story. His father died at an early age, and he had to work. He was poor most of his life. He fell in with a bad crowd, and eventually became a trouble maker. One day after a fortune teller told him he would live to see his children and grandchildren, he decided to attend a church service where the famous George Whitefield was speaking. Whitfield spoke on Matthew 3:7 where it says “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Robinson left the sermon feeling a deep conviction of sin, and this lasted for three years. After this three years, he made peace with the Lord and decided to become a Methodist preacher. Two years after this, sitting on a mountain top basking in the glory of God, Robinson wrote these famous words:
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
In Robinson’s later years he struggled with depression. He seemed to no longer find the joy that he once did. The story goes that one day as Robinson was riding a stagecoach, he heard a lady humming his hymn. He stopped her, looked at her, and said “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
I sympathize with Robert Robinson.
Sometimes it feels as if my sin is so great that I can see nothing but darkness and fear. My soul is so tossed and thrown that it seems as if the only grip I have on my life is my tight hold onto the parts that hold me back from joy. I beg, plead, and cry out to God, yet it seems as if all I hear is silence. Yet, I continue to put a smile on my face and act as if everything is fine. I deceive those closest to me because I don’t want them knowing that I struggle to find the joy that I seem to put off.
My face radiates peace, yet my heart is at war.
Psalms 102: 1-2 seem to get at what I feel. It says “hear my prayer, O Lord! And let my cry for help come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; Incline Your ear to me; In the day when I call answer me quickly.” Sometimes I feel as if the Lord hides from me. My cries for help within my sin seem to go unanswered. As my joy becomes more and more drained, I feel as if I become disconnected with the Lord. I go about my day as if it means nothing. I try to find joy in something, but nothing seems to satisfy.
My soul is cast down, and my heart thirst for something that can fill it.
I know this is dark. I know this is something that seems unlike me. But this is a look inside what goes on in my heart and mind on a daily basis. As I face these things, I desire to continue looking at the Lord. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, yet I know that He is the only one that can fill me. I don’t know why I can’t hear His voice, but I know He’s there. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 tells me:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
I know that my joy is not lost forever. I can’t see what God is doing, but I know that He is working on me for something far greater than myself. He is the God that makes the darkness tremble. Though my world seems to be surrounded by night, he promises me to continue to be the light that breaks through. He is the fountain of joy when I seem to run dry. There is a greater glory beyond this wall of heartbreak and fear. Beyond my sin lies a God who loves me.
Lord, I know I’m…
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love
Take my heart, Lord take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above.
Seal me, Lord. Make you and only you my joy. My sin, fear, and this darkness that I face is not bound to me. Though I feel as if you are not there, though I can’t hear your voice, I know you are right beside me. I will not sink into anything beyond your control. My joy may seem dry, but you are a fountain for the thirsty. I run to you, God. Even though I seem to never catch up, I run to you because I know you are the only thing that can bring me joy. Fill me, God. Give me the joy I once felt in you.
Even though my joy is dry, I will continue to love you.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
There the evildoers lie fallen;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.
Psalms 36: 7-12