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I never understood what Scripture meant by “the joy of salvation.” The psalmist’s prayer of “restore to me the joy of salvation” was a prayer I could never pray because I had never experienced joy from my salvation before. This was because there was no salvation for me before.
When I experienced salvation for the first time, that was also my first experience with true joy. I had always considered myself happy, to have had a happy childhood, but when I felt the real thing, the whole thing for the first time, every happiness I ever knew before rang hollow, paled, and would never do again. Never again will I be satisfied with a substitute.
I do not always experience joy along with my salvation. As the psalmist said, sometimes joy runs off and we have to beg God for it to return. But this is what I want to return to: hope inexpressible, joy unbelievable, a love for God that can only be described as worship for every goodness He’s ever shown me, and has yet to express.