Where Joy Lives

Written by Doug Daugherty

“In Your presence is fullness of joy.”

This tiny part of scripture in Psalm 16:11 has captured my heart and mind for many years. There is an existential, experiential quality about the author’s choice of words that, for me at least, transcends the purely theological.

Yes, yes, yes, God is present in all believers, and in theory, we should all be able to pause and experience His presence. But is that the case for many folks who are genuine converts? In my experience, the answer is, “No”.

For the disciple of Christ, to be in the presence of God is not just a theological fact, it can become an extremely moving and powerful time in our lives.

The psalmist wrote in Psalm 45:5b, “Hope in God, for I shall praise Him for the help of His presence”. The laments of Psalm 45 turn to a transformational “help of His Presence”.

The presence of God brings peace, hope, connection to the Trinity, acceptance by God (and an oddly reciprocal desire to repent), a sense of purpose, and a conviction that God is in control.

In addition, the Holy Spirit brings things to mind:

there is a desire to worship more, a desire for deeper intimacy and greater communion with God, even a growing love of God that moves us to love others.

 So where, beside the theological, do we find the presence of God - where there is fullness of joy?

Well, certainly we shall find it as our souls migrate to the life after this one. But finding the places in life where the presence of God exists is also an unmistakable reality not far off into the future, if we have time and the discipline to pursue Him.

We experience the presence of God as we slowly meditate on a scripture that speaks to our spirit.

We find it in prayer—not so much in supplication—but in the contemplative vein.

We find it in singular or corporate worship when our hearts are touched, whether it’s near a mountain stream or a more formal, corporate setting with many voices.

We find it when we learn to calm ourselves with silence, often connected to times of solitude.

It is a romance, not unlike that portrayed in the Song of Solomon, that calls to us out of the heart of this verse. It is worth pursuing. It may be rare or unaccustomed to you, but it is worth whatever time and effort you can put into it.

The presence of God IS fullness of joy.

And this joy is the antidote to the poison of the toxic culture that so easily soils and entangles us.