Thursday, January 31, 2013

Don't Forget the Joy

“Do not grieve, for the joy
of the LORD is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10b (NIV)

             This world provides us with ample opportunity to grieve. Watching as evil dances across our television screens on the nightly news is enough to send our spirits plunging into the depths of depression. Seeing loved ones afflicted with the diseases that ravage the earth can cause us to sink lower and lower until we find ourselves in a pit of grief.
            However, we are told in God’s Word, “Do not grieve.” Why? “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” I am reminded of the joy that I feel every time I read about the birth of our Savior in Luke chapter two. Singing the Christmas song “Joy to the World” lightens my heart, and I cannot keep myself from smiling:
                        Joy to the world the Lord is come
                        Let earth receive her King
                        Let every heart, prepare Him room
                        And heaven and nature sing
            Grief is a powerful emotion. There is a place for it in our lives. But, we must not find ourselves camped there, for it will suck the life out of us. We must remember that there is joy. As Christians, our source of joy is the LORD Himself. As we operate in that joy, we find strength for our journey.
                        The Psalms are full of joy: sing for joy, shout for joy, filled with joy, bring joy. Joy is a theme throughout the Word of God. That fact alone tells us that our God wants us to be a joyful people. His presence lightens our load.
            So, the next time life positions you in a place where grief has overtaken you and you find yourself bound up and unable to get out of the pit, remember Luke Chapter Two and start singing. Don’t forget the joy!

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