Dear Pilgrim, is anxiety great within you (Ps 94:19)? Are thoughts crowding into your head, as troubles press in around you, refusing to give you any peace?
Ah, dear Pilgrim, precious Pilgrim, the tears in your eyes tell me that such is the weight upon you at present, you cannot even answer. My friend, precious friend – come, let us spend some time thinking about your walk with Him, that His consolation might bring you joy (Ps 94:19) as your eyes are lifted upwards.
Remember when He led you into a field all those years ago, and uncovered before your eyes the richest treasure of all, the treasure of the Kingdom of God – with joy you sold everything you had and bought that field (Mt 13:44)! You left that field a changed person. Where you had lived without hope before – now joy had been birthed in your heart. Roots were laid down in the desert and the parched land of your heart, as joy began to blossom there. With joy you took your first draught from the wells of salvation. Ohhhh! How good the taste! Shouts of joy erupted from your soul!
As you grew in your understanding, waves of mourning swept over you, threatening to extinguish the flame of joy. As you have listened to His Words, you have wept over your own sin and the unrighteousness around you. You have mourned, precious Pilgrim. The gates of Zion lament and mourn (Isa 3:26). You have followed the path of wisdom and your heart has been in the house of mourning (Eccl 7:4). But you have taken comfort in these words: “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10). As His joy has filled you, so His comfort has flowed over.
For it is in His presence that you have come to know the fullness of joy (Ps 16:11). It is in His presence that He has filled you with a joy unspeakable, a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, as He has come alongside and shown you His own wounds. The One whose soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death as He took your sin upon His shoulders (Mt 26:38), He is the One who rejoiced over His lost sheep when He found you and joyfully put you on His shoulders (Luke 15:5). The One who offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death during the days of His life on earth (Heb 5:7), He is the One who now rejoices over you with singing (Zeph 3:17). Where a crown of thorns was once cruelly set upon His head, He has now been anointed with the oil of joy (Heb 1:9) and it pours down His head, pours down His robes and in His presence, precious Pilgrim, it pours down upon you! Oh, Pilgrim, draw closer to Him! Share in the oil of joy with which He has been anointed! Allow that oil of joy to pour upon your head, to seep down your collar, to drip down the robe of righteousness you are wearing. Oil travels slowly, dear Pilgrim, so take your time in His presence, do not rush away until that oil of joy covers you completely.
His Word has become a feast for you – when His words come, you eat them, for they are your joy and your heart’s delight (Jer 15:16). You rejoice in following His statutes as one rejoices in great riches (Ps 119:14). Trouble and persecution come your way because of the word, yet because your roots stretch deep into Him, the enemy is unable to snatch your joy from you! For the One who endured the cross for the joy set before Him has so transformed your heart that deceit no longer dwells there, but rather you promote peace – and because of this, dear Pilgrim, you have joy (Pr 12:20)!
And Pilgrim, the joy He has given you has given me joy too! See how His Kingdom works! Your love has given me great joy and encouragement because you have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people (Phm 1:7)! My prayers for you are always filled with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now (Php 1:4-5)! I rejoice when I see you because you have put your hope in His Word (Ps 119:74)!
Oh Pilgrim, be encouraged, be strengthened, be heartened. It is His consolation that brings you joy at times of great anxiety. The One who comforts you – His Spirit, the Comforter – oh! He has not left us as orphans, praise God! Draw consolation from the Comforter, lean against the breast of Jesus, pour out your concerns to Him, then allow Him to turn you to His word, to the promise that your grief will turn to joy (John 16:20), that those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy (Ps 126:5), and be strengthened by Him alone.