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Posts from the President Vol 18
Recently I read Psalm 4 in my personal time of daily prayer. One line in particular struck me. V. 6 says “Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord.” It reminds me of a song by Craig and Dean Philips that I often sing on the way to campus. I sing (to the Lord, only when I am alone!), “Lord, let your light, light of your face, shine on us. That we may be saved. That we may have life. To find our way in the darkest night. Let your light shine on us.”
Light is a common metaphor in the Bible. In Psalm 4:6 I think it has two meanings. First, the prayer is for guidance—guidance in the darkest night and toward salvation. The salvation here is from that which troubles us most deeply. Often what troubles us is our sense of the unknown, or of lost direction. Sometimes it is relational troubles or spiritual troubles. Sometimes our trouble is physical or emotional. So when I pray for God’s light for Providence I am praying for our salvation from what troubles us most.
The second meaning of light in this passage is joy (see v. 7). This is also my prayer for Providence just about every day. I pray that we would experience joy in our work and in our lives. There are lots of things that work against our joy, things like illness, uncertainty, minimal resources, less than amicable relationships or pressure to “produce.”
We sometimes think that joy should come to us naturally because we are Christians. But because of the things that work against joy it becomes necessary for us to fight for joy. Fighting for joy is a matter of recognizing the enemies of joy and renouncing them—we refuse to let our lack of resources, or health, or certainty, or positive relationships, get us down. God is bigger than all these enemies and He will prepare a table for us before them and anoint our heads with the oil of gladness (Psalm 23). Fighting for joy is also a matter of “working out” spiritually—i.e., reading and memorizing Holy Scripture, singing, worshipping with God’s people, praying and contemplating our Creator and Saviour.
So I encourage you, don’t give in to despair. Fight for joy! It does not come easily. Joy is part of the light we bear in the world. Christian joy is one of the weapons in God’s arsenal for expanding the kingdom in a world desperately in need of more than happiness. A world in need of lasting joy.
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