Revive Our Hearts Podcast

My Exceeding Joy

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth on why you can be joyful, even in a storm.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God is my exceeding joy. It’s not the presence or absence of a storm that determines my joy level. It’s the presence of God. He is my exceeding joy, so I will be joyful in Him.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Friday, April 12, 2019.

What’s the biggest, most threatening challenge in your life today? Keep that situation in mind as Nancy shows you how to find peace in a storm. She’s in the series “Dealing with Depression and Doubt.” 

Nancy: I’d like to read, in its entirety, the passage that we’ve been studying over the last several sessions—Psalms 42 and 43—just to remind us of how faith answers sight, how we counter the real-life circumstances in our lives with faith in the ways and in the Word of God.

We’ve seen first of all that the Psalmist is experiencing a time of drought, then we saw that he was drowning, and in the midst of all this he keeps coming back and counseling his heart to believe in God, to hope in God that there will be deliverance.

So let me read this passage.

Psalm 42

As the deer longs for the water brooks, 
    So longs my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When shall I come and see the face of God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
    While they continually say to me, 
    “Where is your God?”
When I remember these things
    I pour out my soul within me.
    For I used to go with the multitude. 
I went with them to the house of God,
    With the voice of joy and praise,
    With the multitude that kept the pilgrim feast.

[And then he talks to himself:]

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
    And why are disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
    For the help of His countenance.
Oh my God, my soul is cast down within me;
    Therefore I will remember You from the land of Jordan,
    And from the heights of Hermon, 
    From the Hill Mizar. 
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
    All Your waves and billows have gone over me.

[And faith says, “Yes, you’re in a storm.”]

But the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
    And in the night His song shall be with me—
    A prayer to the God of my life.
I will say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forsaken me?
     And why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy.”
As with the breaking of my bones, 
    My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long, 
    “Where is your God?”
    Why are you cast down, O my soul? 
    And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; 
    For I shall yet praise Him,
    The help of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 43

Vindicate me, O God, 
    And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
    For You are the God of my strength.
Why do you cast me off? 
    Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
    Let them lead me; 
    Let them bring me to Your holy hill,
    And to Your tabernacle.
Then will I go to the altar of God, 
    To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You, 
    O God, my God.

[And then once more the refrain:]

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
    And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, 
     For I shall yet praise Him,
     The help of my countenance and my God.

I want us to see in this session today, one final expression of faith as the Psalmist walks by faith instead of by sight.

By faith he’s already seen that God’s supply is sufficient to meet his need, and now by faith he anticipates God’s deliverance. He anticipates God’s intervention.

I want to focus on that phrase, “I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God.”

He’s saying that the day is coming—I don’t know when; I don’t know how long it will be—but I know that the time will come when God will deliver, when God will intervene in my situation. And in the meantime, I will hope in God.

In the meantime, I will trust confidently. I will rest in assurance that God knows what He’s doing. God determines the nature of the trial. He determines the extent of the trial. He determines duration of the trial. God is sovereign! So I hope in God because I know that in time God will intervene. In time, God will deliver.

I love that passage in Psalm 30, verse 5. It says, “Weeping may endure for a night.” Your night may not be just one eight-hour night, it may be an eight-month night or an eight-year night or years and years of darkness. But the Psalmist says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

You say, “Oh God, let it be morning!” That’s alright to say, but keep hoping in God until it is, and know that in God’s time and in God’s way, the morning will come. The joy will come. Even in the night, knowing that the joy is ahead, you can have joy now.

God is my exceeding joy. It’s not presence or absence of the storm that determines my joy level. It’s the presence of God. He is my exceeding joy, so I will be joyful in Him.

That’s exactly what the prophet Habakkuk says in chapter 3. “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, though the labor of the olive may fail and the fields yield no food, though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls”—that’s all sight. Though there’s no visible reward for your faith, though there’s no visible evidence that God is hearing or answering your prayers—“yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (vv. 17–18).

When there’s no visible means of support around me, when there’s no visible means for joy, yet I will be joyful because I have the Lord.

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” I will have joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, Habakkuk says. “He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills” (3:19).

Do you see the faith there that anticipates God’s deliverance and God’s intervention? So the Psalmist says that chorus one more time, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him the help of my countenance and my God” (Ps. 43:5).

Ladies, that needs to be the chorus of our lives. The stanzas have all kinds of other things in them. The stanzas of our lives have marriage problems and child problems and health problems and financial problems and internal and external problems and moves and job losses. Those are the stanzas of life.

You’ve got to keep coming back to the chorus, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him the help of my countenance and my God.”

That word hope is translated from a Hebrew word that means “to wait, to tarry, to hope, to expect, to be patient, to trust.”

Now, we don’t like the “waiting” part of hope, at least I don’t. I want to see the answer. I want to see the resolution. I want the problem to be solved. Just let me say again—that’s the way it is on TV, but that’s not the way it is in life.

Part of hoping is waiting. Some of you are hoping in God to deliver your marriage. Some of you are hoping in God to deliver a son or daughter who is in bondage to the evil one. Wait on the Lord.

You say, “How long do I have to wait?”

I don’t know. Just keep waiting!

But you’re not just waiting for your husband, you’re not waiting for your son or daughter, you are waiting for God. If you were waiting for your husband or your son or daughter or your financial situation or your health to change, you might not have any hope.

But your hope is in God, and that’s why you have hope. Hope in God, wait, cling to Him, be patient, trust in Him while you’re waiting. “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him.”

That word praise is translated from a Hebrew word that means “to use the hands, to revere or to worship God with extended hands.” It’s an expression of thanks to God. It means “bless the Lord.”

You say, “In the midst of my storm? In the midst of my depression? In the midst of my doubt? In the midst of my fears? In the midst of my trouble? I’ll praise the Lord when I get out of it.”

No! Praise the Lord while you’re still in it—knowing that you will praise Him in the long run, so praise Him now.

“I will yet praise God.” Lift up your hands to the Lord. Give Him thanks; bless Him; revere Him; worship Him. Say, “Lord, You are great. You are good. You are God. You have not changed. You are all I need. You are sufficient. You are sovereign. You are wise. You are loving. You are good.”

The waves may be still beating on your boat, but you’ll be safe. Listen, the storm may—it may kill you—but you’ll still be safe if you are a child of God. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him.”

Let me just talk about one other word. “I shall yet praise Him the help of my countenance and my God.”

That word, help, is translated from the Hebrew word Yeshuah. Yeshuah, does that name sound familiar? The word Yeshuah means “deliverance, salvation, victory.” God is the Yeshuah of my countenance. He is the deliverance of my faith. He is my salvation.

If you add one syllable to the word Yeshuah, you get the name for Joshua which means not only “salvation,” but it means “Jehovah saves. Jehovah is my salvation.”

What is the Greek word in the New Testament for the name Joshua? JESUS. That’s the Greek transliteration for this word. Jesus is my salvation. Jesus is my deliverance.

“Hope in God for I shall yet praise Him”—the Yeshuah, the salvation, the deliverance, the victory of my faith and my face and my God.”

Ultimately, every struggle in life, every pressure, every problem is intended to take us back to the Savior.

Deliverance is not found in a counselor. It’s not found in pills. It’s not found in shopping. It’s not found in food. It’s not found in a good friend. It’s not found in Christian radio, Christian television, or Christian novels. That’s not your source of deliverance

Yeshuah, Jesus saves! He is my deliverer. He is my salvation. Deliverance is found not in ourselves, not in anything, not in anyone other than the Lord Jesus Himself.

So say to your soul, “Why are you so cast down? Why are you disquieted?" Your soul may say back to you, “Well, it’s for this reason and this reason and this reason. I have a lot of reason to be cast down, to be disquieted.”

Then speak back to your soul and say, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help, the Yeshuah, the Savior, the deliverer, the salvation of my countenance and my God.”

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, showing you how to trust in God’s peace even in the middle of an emotional storm.

That message is part of the series, “Dealing with Depression and Doubt.”  It’s a study of Psalm 42 and 43.  To hear the whole series or read the transcript, you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Carrie Gaul knows what it’s like to be in the kind of emotional storm we’ve heard about during this series. Not long ago she talked with Nancy and a group of women about walking with the Lord through the storms of life. I think her comments will encourage you to live out the message we’ve been hearing. Carrie is on staff with Revive Our Hearts and has taught on this program before. Here’s Carrie.

Carrie Gaul: In June of 2012, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was at what I hoped was the tail-end of a very dark season of my own life spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.

The Lord had taken me away for a day just to be with Him and His Word. He had really ministered to my soul. Then two months later I was diagnosed with cancer.

At 10:30 that night we got a phone call from our surgeon. He had promised to call that day, but he had been caught in surgery until that time. So it was 10:30 in the evening, and he said, "Mr. and Mrs. Gaul, I need you to sit down. I'm about to tell you that Carrie has cancer."

There was, of course, tears and questions and all of that, which is very natural for all of us in that time. We prayed and cried. Within the next hour, my husband very wisely just said to me, "Carrie, we need to think about how we're going to tell people about this."

I didn't hear a voice; I didn't see a ten thousand pound angel, but I sensed the Spirit of God saying, "Carrie, this is a gift of my love to you, and you have to receive it like that."

So over the course of now the last year-and-a-half, we have walked through that journey. So to answer the question, what has God done, how do you know Him today differently?

I would have told you in June of 2012 that God was faithful. I knew of His covenant—I thought. But in the midst of some of the darkest days that I've ever known in my adult life, I lost track of that. I lost sight of that.

One of the myriad of things He's done in this journey of cancer is to show me His faithfulness doesn't change. It's not dependent on me. He's faithful; He shepherds; He guides; He answers prayer; He hears. 

I don't know whether God will heal me of cancer or if it will be what He uses to take me into His presence, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because what I've come to know of Him in the midst of it is, He never changes. He never changes!

I could tell stories from now until midnight about His faithfulness and the tender, tender ways He has shepherded us. One of the ways has been in the midst of the cancer treatment. So many of you know this journey personally in your own lives. We had so many doctors and so many opinions and so many reports and so many tests, and we had to make some treatment decisions. 

I have no medical background, so we were doing a lot of research and a lot of praying. I went for pretty major tests early in the morning one morning. I met with the doctor and said, "I'm not sure we are going to do . . ." Coming out of that I said, "Lord, I'm just not sure who to trust. You have to help me land this plane."

That afternoon at 4:00 in the afternoon, I get a phone call on my cell phone from one of my oncologists. He said, "Carrie, I'm watching your reports come through. I know you have some questions." He answered some of those questions for me. He gave me a little more detail about some things. He talked about the other doctor I was seeing. At the tail-end of all that, he said, "Carrie, you can trust him. I trust him." I thought, That's what I needed to know. That's exactly what I prayed. Those tender mercies of just seeing God's answers when we cry.

I think in the early days of any type of trial or suffering that we're going through, there is a sense of His presence, but there is also an overwhelming sense that I can't think straight. I can't see straight. I don't know what the answers are. It feels like a fire hydrant is coming at me. I feel like I need to grab control and know all of the answers to all of the questions that are going to come up.

I think one of the most helpful things during that time would have been to know that He is my God, and He is leading me one step at a time. I don't need to know the ten-year plan. I just need to know in this next minute, "Lord, what do I do?" I think that's one of the things He is teaching me.

I love to have control. I like the ten-year plan. He's teaching me, "Just listen to My voice, Carrie. Just be still and listen." He speaks to us through His Word. He speaks to us through His Spirit and in our times with Him in prayer and through His people. But my heart is often not still. My mind is for sure not still because it is going in a thousand directions and trying to figure things out.

He's teaching me in much of this journey with cancer—just listen to Me, just be still.

So many times in all of our lives we have to learn to talk to ourselves and not to listen to ourselves. For me that is not a natural thing. I don't default to that. One of the things in the journey with cancer . . . A very real illustration was a day we were going to meet with five doctors in one day.

A dear friend of ours came over early in the morning just to pray with us and to see if there was anything he could, and he just loved on us. He came in that day, and we talked some. By that time there is just so much information that I couldn't process any more information.

He said to me, "Carrie, what's the greatest thing on your heart right now?"

I remember saying, "I just don't want to fail my God. I do not want to fail. I do not want to be a poor reflection of Him. I don't want to waver in my faith. I want people to see Him through it."

Then I talked about how I felt I failed so often in that. I wanted to do this differently. I wanted people to see Him in the midst of it. Evidentally, in a lot of what I was sharing, there was a lot of guilt, shame, and condemnation, which I lived with for so many years.

He just looked at me and said, "Carrie, where Jesus is there is no guilt, shame, or condemnation. He will keep you faithful. Just listen to Him."

That was one of the sweetest, simplest, most profound things that I had to wrap my head around. Day after day, I do not have to understand all of this, I just have to believe what is true because Jesus died for me. He lived; He died, and He's raised from the dead for me. All of what is true because of that is what changes everything.

It was a minute by minute, some days, of having to counsel myself with that truth. Some days I did it well, and some days I didn't do it well. But it didn't change who He is, and it didn't change who I am, because I am in Christ and I belong to Him.

Leslie: Carrie Gaul has been talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and a group of women about walking with the Lord through the storms of life.

And when we find ourselves in those storms, Hosea 10:12 reminds us to seek the Lord. Seeking HIM is also the theme of the Revive ’19 conference.

Do you long to feel refreshed in spirit, to renew your mind, and to re-energize your life? Nancy would like to invite you to join her this September 27 & 28 to seek the Lord together. Along with Nancy, you’ll hear from Dannah Gresh, Mary Kassian, and others at Revive ’19 in Indianapolis. And if you register now, you’ll save $30 with the early pricing. That discount ends May 1, so get a group together and make your plans now.

Get all the details on joining us at Revive '19 by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

On Monday, we’ll hear from a woman who was horribly mistreated as a teenager. She seemed to have to have every reason for depression and doubt, but she found freedom from that pain. Hear the powerful story Monday on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to experience joy in Christ. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.

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