Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
This week, our guest writer is one of our elders, Rosemary Chandler. We know you will be blessed by her words!
Nehemiah 8:10 says, “do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” What a promise that is! It says that God’s joy is our strength for the sorrows that life brings whether that means being on the receiving end of harsh words from another person, the unexpected changes that bring fear and anxiety, or for the times we grow weary doing battle for good things. In uncertain times when the world throws pictures of chaos, violence, destruction or injustice, God’s joy is our strength. God’s joy keeps us from becoming cynical, disillusioned and in a constant state of doubting.
Sometimes, I am not always the first one to find joy in the midst of whatever is going and that is why I am so thankful for the many reminders that Scripture gives us. There are approximately 155 references to joy in the Old Testament and 63 references in the New Testament. That is a lot of references! God is all about showing us how to embrace the free gift of joy that He gives us and why it is essential in our daily life.
Unlike happiness, which is an emotion that flickers around with the changing of circumstances, joy is a gift, a substance that permeates deep within us and floods our soul. Sometimes we let it get weighed down with the world’s daily offering of insufficiency, insecurity, comparison, competition. The anxiety, worry, doubt and disillusionment bring another layer. God offers to tear away those heavy garments and expose our joy again as we spend time with Him.
Can you imagine God’s joy as a muscle that is strengthened by our worship, prayer, praise and reading God’s word? Each day, that muscle has a chance to grow stronger and to be our strength for the day’s assignment. Just like physical exercise, this spiritual muscle of joy will grow as we spend the time with Jesus.
Will you join me, in all the hustle and bustle of this season, in embracing God’s gift of joy, and then watch it grow daily through reflecting on His glory, singing of His mercy, breathing in His peace, spending time in His word?
God’s joy is there inside you, waiting to be released. I promise you. Better yet, God promises you!