Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send
some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not
grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
I was recently struggling with something and my wife Donna was able to greatly encourage me and get my focus back on the Lord – where it belongs. By focusing on Him, I was able to tap into His marvelous reservoir of joy and wonder that is so transforming. This is such a marvelous and important lesson for us.
We may be in the midst of grief, difficulty, disappointment or despair – like the children of Israel were who received this word from Nehemiah. But it’s amazing what God can do within us while we are in the midst of such things! When we tune in to Him, He shares His joy with us that provides us with such strength. We recognize who He is for us and that is dominant over whatever difficulties we have.
Think of the scene in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when Aslan arrives at the witch’s castle and starts breathing upon all the creatures who have been turned to stone by the witch. We see these stone creatures being transformed and coming back to life. We
see the vibrant colors of life replacing the drab, lifeless gray color of stone. That is what God’s joy can and will do within us.
I found this wonderful quote from CH Spurgeon, a great man of God who lived in the 1800s. It vividly describes what is involved within us as we focus upon Him, with His joy
“All these attributes of my God are mine: his power, my
protection; his wisdom, my guidance; his faithfulness, my foundation; his
grace, my salvation.” He is a God who cannot lie, faithful and true to his
promise; he is all love, and at the same time infinitely just, supremely holy.
Why, the contemplation of God to one who knows that this God is his God for
ever and ever, is enough to make the eyes overflow with tears, because of the deep,
mysterious, unutterable bliss which fills the heart.”
If the joy of the Lord is elusive to you, don’t give up. It is there for you to find – and when you find it, you find Him!