“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Joy is what we experience when we feel like all is right with the world. Joy is a product of abundance. It is the overflow of feeling full and well. It is life working together in harmony. However, none of us feel joy all the time. Life can hit us hard. Unexpected and unwanted things can happen, and like stormy clouds blocking a shining sun, our joy can become clouded with life’s burdens.
But there is something we can do. When we feel needy because life has emptied out our abundance of joy, we can find abundance in something that does not come from life. We can look to the abundance of the Lord. Nehemiah does not say that our strength is the joy of having great relationships, money, success, children, a career, good health, or a secure future.
No, all of those things can fail, and so none of them can provide us with the unfailing joy we seek. Only one can provide us with the strength of joy no matter what. Joy comes from the Lord. Consider all He has done for us in the past in Jesus by bearing our shame, forgiving our sins, adopting us into God’s family, and justifying us.
Consider all He promises to do in the future to glorify you, redeem you, and welcome you home to be with Him forever. We have a continual source of present joy as we look to the past and anticipate our future in Jesus. What God has done and what He will do supplies us with an abundance of joy from which we can always draw strength.
Question: Is the joy of the Lord your strength?
Challenge: Spend time at the beginning and end of each day thanking God for all that He has given you, and has promised to give you, in Jesus.
Prayer: God, thank you for what you have done for me in the past and what you promise to do in the future. You are abundantly generous to me. Help me to live out of that abundance and allow the joy of you to be my strength to face the challenges of life.
Jeff Boettcher, Chapel Leader -- Philadelphia Phillies