"Fullness of Joy (Psalm 16)" | Song Story

This song was originally written for Hope Mommies, an organization that ministers to moms grieving infant loss. I was asked to lead worship for their retreat, and to write a song from Psalm 16, the text they would be studying that weekend.

In Psalm 16, David says to his God: "In your presence, there is fullness of joy! At your right hand, there are pleasures forevermore." I had loved this Psalm for a long time, but usually had thought of it as a happy Psalm. I had never thought of singing it from the place of grief and loss. As I wrote, I had these women - women who had lost their babies to stillbirth, SIDS, miscarriage, leukemia - in mind, and the Psalm took on a whole new meaning.

When I arrived at the retreat to lead, I realized all over again that these women were walking through something heart-wrenchingly hard. Their grief was so raw and heavy. These women, some of whom had just lost their babies weeks prior, did not necessarily feel a "fullness of joy." They couldn't necessarily see God’s goodness in this situation. They were wrestling with God.

And yet, as we worshipped, I watched them lift their hands and sing out in faith: “In your presence there is fullness of joy! At your right hand, there is goodness! Boundless goodness.” Even in the midst of terrible sorrow, even when they did not necessarily feel the words to be true, they were declaring to God that His ways were good. As they sang "You are my portion, my chosen portion," they were telling their souls to keep clinging to God, to keep choosing Him. They were saying with David, "Apart from you I have no good thing." I was so moved. 

One of my favorite songwriters, Sandra McCracken, has said we often have to “sing ourselves forward.” These women were doing that. They were singing with faith. They were clinging to the promise of God in Christ, a promise secure even in the hardest things: God did not abandon His holy one, Jesus, to death (verse 10). And because of our union with Christ, He will not abandon us to death either. One day, when we see Him face to face, He will wipe away every tear. Death, pain and mourning will be gone. In the meantime, we cling to God as our all-sufficient portion and inheritance, and we are satisfied.