And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b ESV
Grief can rub a soul so raw that the soothing balm joy feels like it acid. And it can taint a mind so that it only sees pain, heartache, curses.
But joy of the Lord is strength. Not the only the giddy joy that flows easily on days that grief only faintly touches. But the joy that stands up to the muck of this world and in defiance laughs. Joy that takes captive thoughts to make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Joy that focuses on what is pure, holy, admirable. (Philippians 4:8) Joy that trusts God’s protection when He banishes us from Eden. (Genesis 3:22-23) Joy that seeks the light in darkness, that trusts God’s “No.” Joy that rests in God’s promises and knows that He will not waste grief or tears or pain.
As we begin 2017, let us fight for joy that we may be strong in the Lord. May the Holy Spirit empower us to filter our thoughts so they are obedient and focused on what is pure and holy. And when grief threatens to strangle our joy may we in defiance stand on the promises of God and trust His amazing ways.
Father God, this sinful world is full of grief and pain, but we know that joy in You is our strength. We confess we have been week because we have not sought Your joy. Help us to take captive our thoughts, trust in Your promises, and focus on You to find our joy in You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.