"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Joy is a treasure found in the dark places of life, in the shadows, in the storms, in the night. Joy is the gem we find when we're reaching out for hope, and in finding hope, we discover joy.
Joy bubbles up spontaneously from the heart like a spring of refreshing water. It's much more than a fleeting sense of happiness. We can be happy about a lot of things, and many things may make us happy. But, joy is different. It's unrelated to any particular circumstance or situation, people or things. In fact, joy likes to slip in the back door when least likely.
Just about all my life I've quoted the verse or sung the song about the joy of the Lord is our strength. I had a familiar, passing knowledge of what it meant. Sort of. I mean, don't we all know what it means? Kind of? Yet, it's only been recently that I've truly experienced the joy this verse is based upon.
Joy is an oasis in the deserts of life. It is drawn from deep pools of hope and streams of faith. These pools and streams are filled and replenished only one way that I know of. By soaking in the presence of God, steeping ourselves in his love, and becoming more and more aware of how great his love is. We can allow the dark and troubled times to drive us away from God, or we can intentionally and purposefully draw much nearer than ever before. What treasure awaits those who will come and sit awhile with him and breathe him in.
Joy is the confident assurance that no matter what happens, all things will work together for good. It is the antidote to anxiety, fear, and worry. Joy is strong as steel.
The joy of the Lord--
a treasure in the darkness,
a wellspring of hope,
in the sweet serenity
of the presence of the Lord.