Read Psalm 98
Focus on verse 4
Joy should never be confused with happiness. While there may be similarities, happiness often dissipates when we are under stress, while joy can be present even amidst the fiercest trials.
In today’s reading the psalmist writes, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;” (v. 4) if all the earth is encouraged to make a joyful noise, it is not limited to humanity. One of the first things that spring into my mind when I think of how to describe making a joyful noise to the Lord is the sound the birds make as the sun begins to rise. I remember growing up in the country waking up on a sunshiny summer morning to a chorus of sparrows, robins, blackbirds, crows, and many more, all singing at the top of their lungs. It was like they were saying “I’m so glad to be alive on this glorious summer morning!” These birds were just doing what came naturally to them, like they are connected to their world and fulfilling their purpose. Interestingly there seems to be a connection between experiencing true inner joy and having a healthy relationship with God. I have found that in my experience the moments that I have felt closest to God have typically been the moments that I feel an urge to spontaneously make a joyful noise to Him in response. Perhaps that is what the birds feel as they see and feel the sun rise on a new day?