The words of Nehemiah 8:10, “Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” have led me through tough times in my life. Rather than grieve through my darkest hours—the loss of a loved one, ill health or unemployment, I have relied on my joy in the Lord to brighten the way.
The Sunday following my mom’s funeral, I showed up to teach my third grade Sunday school class. The coordinator said, “Oh Sue, you don’t have to do this.”
Tears spilled down my cheeks. “This is where I want to be,” I said, “with my friends—discussing God’s faithfulness.” I taught the class and experienced love instead of pain and sorrow.
The day I stood with my husband, John, in a crowded pharmacy after we learned how expensive his treatments would be, he said, “I’m not worth it.”
Tears flooded my soul. I remembered when I didn’t feel worthy, even of God’s love. In that moment, I was able to encourage John. “We will trust God.”
The loss of my job left me devastated. Many days I questioned why I had to get out of bed. Yet, when I rose to spend my mornings reading the Bible and praying, I found God faithful and loving. I joined women’s Bible study groups and visited homebound friends or those in the hospital—things time didn’t permit when I worked.
Like Nehemiah, joy came to me when I focused on God instead of my circumstances. If you are stressed or hurting, find your joy of the Lord in the midst of the things that trouble you. When you do, you will find it is your strength.
- Sue Tornai