Good afternoon, friends. This is pastor Don. On Sunday, I preached about “Good Medicine” using the Biblical story of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a spiritual leader whose people were weighed down with guilt and sadness. With great wisdom, Nehemiah prescribed a break from the sadness and in its place – a day of joy and celebration because he said: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Also on Sunday, we prayed for Earl’s sister Dot who, was facing having most of her arm amputated on Monday evening. She is at home now and I talked to her just a few hours ago. She was filled with gratitude and joy in spite of her situation. She was so thankful for the Prayer Shawl that Becky sent to her with your prayers, told me that there were 100 angels in that operating room with her. She made my day! Is there a better illustration of allowing the joy of the Lord to become your strength?
We all know what it is to face situations that nearly destroy our strength. What isn’t so easy is to turn sadness and weakness into joy – to let gratitude dominate in the place of fear – to welcome joy when it seems irrational.
There comes a time when we’ve lived into our sorrow or hopelessness long enough. What then? How do YOU invite joy to be your strength? Nehemiah suggested a celebration – thanksgiving – generosity and a feast! Maybe you could do one of those!
How about surprising someone with home baked bread? Writing a letter to a grandchild? Sitting by the lake with a fishing pole and not baiting the hook? Getting out your sketching materials and drawing? Any of that could be an opening for joy.
Why not give it a shot! Joy looks better on you than despair ever did anyway!
LET’S PRAY: Loving God, remind us to give joy a chance and fill us with the strength that comes only from you. Amen