“… for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10d)
Most Children of God seem to look at “the joy of the Lord” as only a physical emotion, present when their outward circumstances are easy – no persecutions, no tests, no tribulations.
However, the Real Joy of the Lord is found in our inner spirit, even in the darkest of hours.
It is in the midst of the storm – God’s still small voice speaks to us. It is when we think we have no more strength to go on – God impresses us with His Words of Promise. It is in those times that our spirit rejoices – we see God is on our side, fighting our battles. “Good times” come and go, but when God moves His hand in by the hole of the door and stirs our love for Him and once again shows us His love for us; that is Real Joy, Everlasting Joy and Peace.
Why does God allows our enemy to be so strong? Why do even those who we think are our friends turn on us? Because this only causes His Sheep to seek their Shepherd more and more. Truly, we desire the company of the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd. We long for His Communion and His Leadership. But sometimes He withdraws Himself, and causes us to search for Him. But He always leaves His sweet smelling myrrh on the handle of the door (Song of Solomon 5:4-6).
There are times in our valley when our flesh says, “Give up. What is the use of going on? You are ruined and washed up. The battle is to the strong. You can’t win!”
But then God speaks to us and tells us, “…the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong…” (Ecclesiastes 9:11b). Read Jeremiah 17:5-8; verse 7 says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” We know that God has sustained us completely in our journey, especially in the dark times. He has given us tokens to assure us of Psalms 121:1-6 and 2 Corinthians 12:9, “…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”
No matter how much we have to suffer reproach; no matter how dark our valley becomes; we know The Light (Christ) lives in us.
The battle is very strong on many fronts. But by His Grace, Mercy, and Power, we shall overcome and walk in the Victory (Romans 7:25; 1 John 5:4). The flesh is so strong and fights with deception, but God has given us the Spirit of Discernment; “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Not a spirit of bondage, but a spirit whereby we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6). We know we are His Children; and that He loves us and is watching over us and is conforming us.
Therefore, we have Real Joy. Not in our flesh, but in our spirit.