The Joy of the Lord
(Photo by Justin Young on Unsplash)
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:7 (NIV)
Is My joy dependent on what you do or don't do? Am I happier when you are obedient and less happy when you sin? Or is My joy completely separate from My creation? Am I happy within Myself as the triune God?
I will let you in on a secret...My joy is not dependent on you. It comes from who I am. That's why I can always share it with you. It's why I am happy with you. Because I contain all joy, there is nothing you can do to diminish it. What is the joy of the Lord? It is sharing in the joy that is Mine. My precious child, I am not angry with you. I am delighted with you. I rejoice over you with singing. My joy is not contingent on what you do or don't do. Those are qualities that define humans. When things go your way, you tend to be happy, and when things don't, you are more likely to experience pain or fear instead of joy.
The joy I offer you is My joy and it will be your strength. After the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt, it was time to celebrate the Festival of Trumpets. All the people came and asked Ezra to read the Law. As Ezra read, the people began to weep and mourn for they were convicted of their sin. Nehemiah told them that this was a day of celebration. He said "Don't be dejected of sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Neh. 8:10 NLT) So they stopped crying, and started celebrating. They were filled with joy! There is a time for sorrow and a time for joy; a time to mourn and a time to dance. After the festival, the people gathered again, and while the Book of the Law was read, once again, they began to weep and mourn and confess their sins. If you confess your sins, I am faithful and just to forgive them. Weeping may last for the night, and that is true for repentance as well, but joy comes in the morning. After the people repented, they were once again filled with joy. Deep sorrow for your sin will feel like the night, but after, when the morning comes, you will be filled with My joy because the relationship is restored and you feel free to receive from Me again.
You might be thinking, "How can you rejoice over Me? I am nothing special. What is there to delight in?" That is wrong thinking, sweet child. You are a unique one-of-a-kind creation that I made for My glory. I delight in you because I made you for Myself. I look at you with great joy first of all because I am joyful and second of all because I see you as perfect, without blemish. I see you...you are holy, you are righteous, you are one of the redeemed, set apart, given a brand new heart. You have a heart that is ready to receive My joy.
And you need My joy right now. You are waiting and praying, and sometimes it feels pointless. You look at your loved one who knew Me at one time but has walked away. Now is not the time to be dejected or sad. For I have a plan for them. It is good and will happen at the right time! Everything I say about you, I also say about all who have put their trust in Me regardless of how they live now. That's not to say I am never saddened by the wrong choices my children make, but even then My joy remains because it is not contingent on what you do or don't do. Besides that, I know the end, and it is worth waiting for.
I invite you now to share in My joy. Set aside time to celebrate the future promises to be fulfilled for your unanswered prayers. Do what the Israelites did on the day of celebration. You may only be celebrating what is yet to come, and seeing only in your mind the answer to your prayers, but do it with the joy of the Lord! You will find strength to persevere and strength to praise Me!
All My Love,
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!"
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV)
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 (NIV)
Though the tears may fall my song will rise My song will rise to You Though my heart may fail my song will rise My song will rise to You While there's breath in my lungs I will praise you Lord In the dead of night I’ll lift my eyes I’ll lift my eyes to You Though the waters rise I’ll lift my eyes I’ll lift my eyes to You While there's hope in this heart I will praise You Lord The joy of the Lord is my strength The joy of the Lord is my strength In the darkness I’ll dance In the shadows I’ll sing The joy of the Lord is my strength When I cannot see You with my eyes Let faith arise to You When I cannot feel Your hand in mine Let faith arise to You God of mercy and love I will praise You Lord How You shine with glory Lord of light I feel alive with You In Your presence now I come alive I am alive with You There is strength when I say I will praise You Lord The joy of the Lord is my strength The joy of the Lord is my strength In the darkness I’ll dance In the shadows I’ll sing The joy of the Lord is my strength When sorrow comes my way You are the shield around me Always You remain My courage in the fight I hear You call my name Jesus I am coming Walking on the waves Reaching for Your light The joy of the Lord is my strength The joy of the Lord is my strength In the darkness I’ll dance In the shadows I’ll sing The joy of the Lord is my strength