“The statutes of the Lord are just
and rejoice the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear
and gives light to the eyes… By them also is your servant enlightened, *
and in keeping them there is great reward.”
Many people walk through life with heavy hearts. Some are heavy because of sadness or grief, some because of consequence. To some people Lent seems a time for sadness. They dwell upon their sin and sing “woe is me”. They think that in their sadness the Lord is pleased. While it is true that we should be sorrowful for our sins, it’s not true that we should dwell in that sorrow.
Lent comes in the Spring of the year for a purpose. God wants to remind us there is always new life waiting to spring up within us. Repentance should always produce joy, and it is that joy that should be our dwelling place, for joy comes from the Lord.
The Psalmist reminds us that God’s ways are not weary or hard. His laws are not boring or meant to keep us from enjoying life. In fact, God’s laws are the very source of our joy. When we learn to listen to the Lord and obey His teachings, he leads us in paths of refreshing. He renews our hearts.
Are you struggling to keep God’s commandments? Do they seem burdensome to you? Perhaps it’s because you don’t really understand them. Scripture says there is a way that seems right to man, but leads to destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Sometimes we see those who live in open sin and they seem to have everything, even joy. But, what they have is a fleeting moment of euphoria, not true joy. The consequences of their sin catch up to them sooner or later, and there is no real peace in their lives. Like the addict who feels serenity for the brief moments of a high, they soon come crashing down to a state worse than before.
Everything God asks us to do is always for our own good. Christians should be the happiest people on earth. We are always faced with choices of good and evil but they rarely look so stark. Evil is disguised in many ways to look good. If sin wasn’t fun, in some measure, Satan wouldn’t be able to entice us into it. But, to do the right thing always brings a feeling of peace and joy, a joy that comes from the Holy Spirit who confirms the right choices within us.
As you look around you at the signs of Spring, may you see the signs of God’s love and forgiveness washing over you in this Lenten season. Meditate on His statutes, and He will renew your heart with springs of joy.
My daily Lenten prayer – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. ” NRSV