As a child I learned a song based on a portion of Nehemiah 8:10 which says "The joy of the Lord is my strength". Over the years I have found that to be so true! In my deepest, darkest moments when I've sought for the joy of the Lord, I've always been filled with incredible strength. Does this mean it has always come instantaneously? No. Although I have to confess that has often been the case in my life, that has not always been true. Sometimes you have to pursue it. To pursue something, you have to never give up until you catch what you're after. Sometimes while you're pursuing it, you get discouraged. It seems like it will be impossible to catch your prey. However, when you're pursuing it with your whole heart, you don't give up. If you quit pursuing it, you will never catch it.
In order to catch it, you have to have the right tools. In your pursuit of joy, your tools are the Word of God, prayer, and worship. You have no business filling your mind with things that do not glorify God. When you focus on God instead of yourself, amazing things happen. You will find that you have joy inspite of your circumstances. That doesn't necessarily mean that your circumstances will change. The way you deal with them will change. You will discover that the joy of the Lord is your strength. You will find that people become drawn to you because you are letting them see Christ who dwells within you. Those who were coming to comfort and encourage you will find that they are comforted and encouraged by you as well. Isn't that wonderful? What goes around, comes around!
When you are pursuing something, you may need some assistance in catching it. You may have to call for assistance from family and friends as well as brothers and sisters in Christ. Don't let the enemy trick you into believing you are alone. That's completely contrary to God's Word. He said he'd never leave or forsake us! It is his desire for us to have fellowship with each other. That's why God created us to be social beings. People are often much more caring and compassionate than what we think they are. The trouble is we don't often give them the opportunity to show it. We're too busy worrying about what they will think of us. If you don't have people you can turn to, ask God to help you find people who can provide love and support. Remember though, you need to do the same for them.
The joy of the Lord is my strength!
*8/18/11--This blog is now part of a series entitled Walking With God In The Midst of Cancer