And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” – Nehemiah 8:10
How? Where does this joy come from? How can we be expected to feel and express joy in these difficult circumstances?
The early Christians wondered that same thing. Prison, terror, beatings, horrible deaths, threats… all of this and more surrounded them daily. Yet here is what they discovered through Jesus:
We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. – 2 Corinthians 6:9-10
We have everything because we have eternity. We have salvation. How can we not feel joy over that unmerited favor, no matter our present circumstances?
Anything else that comes into my heart, here is what I do with it:
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. – 1 Peter 5:7
We can be truly glad, Dear Ones. We can. Peter wraps it up in a neat little bow for us here:
And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:5-9
Let the true and unfailing joy of the Lord be your strength today, won’t you?
Gracious Lord, thank You for the bounty of Your joy. Thank You for the strength it gives us in the journey. In Jesus’ Name, Amen…
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