“You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
I have reached an age when I do find myself pondering “What if I had …” If my family had not moved to North Carolina when I was 14 years old, then I know I would not have attended UNC at Greensboro. If my family had remained in South Carolina, then I wonder where I would have ended up going to college. After graduation from seminary and as I was seeking a call, I had two churches expressing interest in me and we were in conversation. How different would my life have been if I had accepted a call to the Hyattsville, Maryland church instead of accepting the call to the Pearisburg, Virginia church. The settings were quite different as were the people. Do you ever wonder about the path(s) not taken in your life? I suppose at one time or another, we all do!
The concluding verse of Psalm 16 is like discovering the mother lode, if one were mining. First, we are told that God shows us the path. Here on earth we try to discern God’s will for our lives. Sometimes we are reasonably certain of what God’s will is, but there can always be that nagging doubt so that we are not 100% certain. Is this the right path? Or is it the other one? With God showing us the path of life, there will be no margin for error, provided we follow the path God shows us.
Second, in God’s presence there is fullness of joy. The word that leaps out at me in this phrase is fullness. In this life we may experience joy, but it is never 100%. In Revelation 21 we read of God dwelling with God’s people in heaven. We will experience God’s presence with us as we have never before experienced. We read that there will be no more mourning and crying and pain. In other words there will be fullness of joy.
Last, in God’s right hand are pleasures forevermore. Sunrise and birds singing, flowers in bloom and a gentle breeze blowing, a hug or kiss from people who love us, some work to do and the feeling of accomplishment, a satisfying meal, a comfy bed, moon shining and stars twinkling, and peaceful slumber are simple pleasures we experience now. In God’s hand are simple and great pleasures forevermore that God will give to those in God’s presence, who will know the fullness of joy. In my estimation that is something great to which we have to look forward!
Lord God, thank you for all that gives us joy in this life and thank you for promising to show us the path of life, to surround us with fullness of joy in your presence and to bestow upon us pleasures forevermore. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.