“The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
A few years ago in southwestern Ontario we had one of the coldest winters recorded in fifty years. Preceding this deep and quick freeze was a spike in temperature that yielded such a deluge of rain and freezing rain that the ice it produced took down power lines all across our area and beyond leaving many without power for weeks.
I will never forget lying in my bed in the dark with my daughters snuggled close to ward off the fear of the deep dark and cold, and the house devoid of any hum of fans or fridge running. It was eerie enough, and then…CRACK! A sound like a gunshot penetrated the quiet.
The deep cold had caused the ground to freeze so deeply that it was splitting deep beneath us. The local news reported the next day that so many people were concerned about these noises that they were calling the police to report them!
They were called “frost-quakes”. Quaking is what it made us do, and the whole experience made me grateful in so many ways for our home which provided us a place of safety and shelter from something over which we had no control.
So many different circumstances in our lives threaten to steal our joy or our security and sap us of strength. Some days we can only do the next thing as we stumble under the weight of fear, grief, pain, or suffering.
Last week we looked at the power of the word “is” in this verse as it gives us the proclamation of the promise that the joy of the Lord IS our strength. Not only can we count on joy in Him, but it will give us strength.
The Hebrew word used here for strength signifies “a place or means of safety, protection”. When we choose joy in our difficult circumstances, we have a place of safety, a refuge and defense from any harm.
We are kept by the Lord Himself, and He is all the strength we need to maintain our joy and gladness, even when the ground is literally quaking beneath us.
The joy of the Lord is my strength. Is He yours today?
Check out this link for a song by Rend Collective that will give you a way to affirm your strength in the joy of the Lord today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3gLeCiMJqI.
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