Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Joy of the Lord

"The Joy of the Lord is My Strength"  
Sometimes, people quote scriptures and it seems automatic, and we might miss the very real meaning found within. These words are found in several places in scripture,  with slight variations. In college, we sang it as a praise song, and it's hard to sing it without cheering up.

For years, people have praised my positive attitude, my strength when things seemed too tough to handle. But sometimes, I'm not cheerful. Some days I'm downright discouraged, even glum.  Sometimes, I'm worn out and tired of pain and really wish I could just give up. And then I feel like a failure, because I don't have a "right" to be depressed. I've been blessed over and over and I should be so grateful that I couldn't ever be sad, right?

But as I listened to the birds singing, I thought how happy they sounded. It reminded me of God taking care of the sparrows, so would even more care for me.  And then in a flash, I thought about how God has seen me through so many things in my life, the routine, the stressful, and the sad. God has been my strength in the past, is now, and will be in the future. 

Suddenly, I thought, "The JOY of the Lord is my strength" and I realized how true this is. When have I felt closest to the Lord? When have I felt the strongest? When I praised Him, and acknowledged Him. and even, when I leaned on Him.  When I feel the joy of the Lord, then I am strong.    

So, today, I will look for joy. And you know what? I suspect it'll be there waiting for me.  

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

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