22 | Strength and Joy
The post today vitally reminds us to root ourselves in the joy of the Lord, with these roots we are so prepared for life! Scroll down and let this incredible truth sink in!
The bible says in Nehemiah 8:10
‘Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’.
Strength and joy are not two things I would immediately associate with each other. To me, joy speaks of the high times and the good times when life feels great. Strength, on the other hand, speaks to me of grit and determination and remaining steadfast in adversity. However the joy that I’ve described here is very much circumstantial joy.
As God’s people we are called to be carriers of joy at ALL times.
This sounds quite daunting as it really doesn’t feel possible to be ‘happy’ and ‘joyful’ all the time because the reality is that life isn’t always on a high, we also go through lows. This is where we fix our eyes on Jesus and not on our earthly circumstances.
The Bible is full of incredible promises and declarations of who we are as children of God. One thing we are told is that the ‘spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead lives in [us]’ (Romans 8:11); that’s a pretty powerful promise. I think often it can be easy to forget the power and the strength that dwells within us through the Holy Spirit, both in day to day life and, when life gets tough. This separates us from the world and allows us to overcome things in strength and joy, for it says in 1Chronicles16:17 that ‘joy and strength are in his dwelling place’
...That dwelling place is YOU.
Through Jesus I have experienced so many times of deep joy, whether that be during worship, fellowship with friends or in the secret place of prayer. I also know that I have experienced moments of real pain, where to be joyful has required a lot of strength.
Joy is not always a felt emotion of elation and laughter; it is a heart position and a choice.
We always have the choice of joy and this is such a life-giving freedom and something that the enemy can never take from us, the choice to be joyful in a way that requires strength really marks us out as Christians and is such a testament to who God is and the weapons He gives us for when life is hard. This joy IS our strength and is what enables us to face adversity.
During the summer, I broke and dislocated my ankle, resulting in surgery. I was in hospital for a week in a lot of pain and then had a further thirty days in bed, unable to do anything and for the most part extremely uncomfortable. It’s now been three months since my accident and I’m still on crutches and walking (crutching) through the experience. It’s been a huge learning experience and believe me when I say, my choice of joy has not always been obvious or one I do with ease, there are some days when I want to have a massive tantrum about how unfair this all is. BUT I have been so blown away by the gift of joy during this difficult time and how divine and unearthly God is to enable us to feel such a counterintuitive thing during such an objectively joy-less situation. Friends and family sent me Nehemiah 8:10 while I was in hospital,
the experience has given me a deeper and broader perspective on joy and I have seen that with God we don’t have to grieve what we don’t have because you realise more and more that He is enough and that His joy is what gives us our strength.
Violet is a second year studying English literature and education at Durham University. A lover of good cafes and quality time with people.