Q: If sin has been confessed and forsaken, and joy is still not present (more of a dry, dusty, maybe-lost-in-the-wilderness-for-40-years kind of life, actually), what then?....
A: There are several possibilities for the dry, dusty, long life.
- You have confessed and forsaken the big sins but not all of the little ones that set you up for the big ones. "Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless,innocent of great transgression." (Psalm 19:13)
- You do not believe that God has forgiven you. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
- You are not obeying Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" That is a command. Disobeying it is sin. Confess and forsake the sin of not rejoicing.
- You do not think it is right to rejoice in forgiveness after such a sin.
- You believe you have to do some sort of penance for God to know that you really mean your confession.
- "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." (2 Corinthians 7:10) There are two types of sorrow, Godly and worldly. There is no virtue in worldly sorrow. It is remorse. It leads to death. Godly sorrow leads to repentance which leads to salvation and leaves no regret. If you still have regret, then you did not repent. You did not repent because your sorrow was not Godly, it was worldly. If you still have remorse then you were not forgiven. If you were forgiven there would be no regret.
- There is a possibility that you are not saved. God has promised everlasting joy: "The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." (Isaiah 51:11) He has commanded joy now: "Be joyful always." (1 Thessalonians 5:16) The fruit of the Spirit is joy: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ..." (Galatians 5:22)
Whatever the reason, you are under some sort of chastening. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11) That is the only Biblical reason for no joy. Find out what it is and confess it. You will not find it by introspection. That is a downer. Come into God's presence! Have Him search. Don't you search.