This past week has been a very trying one nationally, locally, socially, working and personally. I look up and see news reports of people tragically victimized by terror. I see people lose their lives volunteering to save their community. I’ve been physically, mentally and emotionally drained. I had to find refuge in my security blanket of a self gratifying cocoon to recover from an illness caused by stress over how I can’t afford two pennies to rub together. I find myself tired, worn out of the energy to reason and flat-out ready to throw the towel in.
Then I remembered something. It’s been a maxim of mine for a couple of years. It’s something that I said without thought. It was something that needed to be heard. It was something God put on my lips. It, being the last part of Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10 KJV)
“For the joy of The Lord is your strength.” I said,”If you lose your joy, you’re weak.”
I told that to my someone one evening that needed to hear it. It started to get me thinking. What if I replaced the word ‘joy’ with the word ‘strength?’ Are the words interchangeable? So I tried it. I looked up different Bible verses with the word ‘joy.’ The first was Psalm 30:5 (KJV):
“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Now I switched those key words and got something else.
“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but ‘strength’ cometh in the morning.” How many of us has been to the point where we can no longer hold it in and just burst out in tears? I’m glad to know that my strength will come in the morning when I awake refreshed. So I kept looking to see what other verses I could use the same way.
James 1:2-3 King James Version (KJV) 2 My brethren, count it all joy (strength) when ye fall into divers temptations;3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
I liked that because it takes strength to withstand temptation. To me this was good stuff. I researched some more and I saw that the word rejoice is used quite often as well; 194 times according wiki.answers.com. Joy is mentioned 155 times. I looked up the exact definition of the word. Rejoice means to feel joyful or be delighted or to fill with joy. It also gives the definition for the phrase ‘rejoice in’ which is ‘to have or possess.’ That’s awesome because Philippians 4:4 says
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
or as they say “Remix!”
“Have strength in the Lord always: and again I say, have strength.”
There is a reason the word JOY is listed second behind LOVE as the fruit of the spirit. Jesus gave us two commandments; to love The Lord with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. The love of God is the most powerful force in the world. Once we understand that, the knowledge that He loves us gives us strength and I find great joy in that. Hey, I wonder… What if I changed…
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (joy); they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 (KJV)