A few weekends ago, I had several family commitments in addition to an already tightly packed schedule. It was just a miracle that I made it through and ticked all the boxes. I managed to get in a few hours of sleep and was wondering how I was going to face the week with that significant sleep deficit. I was physically drained. However, I showed up at work on Monday morning and everyone seemed to have amazing compliments about how rested I looked. I was surprised because although I didn’t feel tired and exhausted, I didn’t expect to look rested.
As I pondered on the one comment too many, God brought Neh. 8:10b back to me. It says, ‘…the joy of the Lord is my strength.’ Previously, when I thought about the joy of the Lord, I understood it to simply mean, the joy that God gives me is my strength. However, that day, I found a deeper understanding.
- Why does a mother give up her dinner so her kids can eat to their fill and yet she finds strength to carry on even though she was just as hungry earlier?
- Why does a man committed to his family go without a car and conveniences so his wife and children can have them and are catered to and yet you find him excited and strengthened on the go?
- Why do we find that surge of energy when we are able to make someone we love happy?
Then it hit me…We find strength when we make those we love happy.
So, in the context of Nehemiah 8:10, because I love God and enjoy the relationship with Him, I find strength when I make him joyful. His joy is my strength! When I bring God joy, I am strengthened. Surely that must be the reason I feel so excited and strengthened when I have an opportunity to tell someone about how much God loves them, and to lead them to Christ. The bible says the heavens rejoice when a sinner finds Christ and as God rejoices, I am strengthened. That’s the reason every time I align with God in that little act of obedience and choose to go counter culture to honor God, no matter the implication, I find a sudden burst of strength. When I speak God’s mind and encourage someone, God rejoices that I was able to act as His representative and in His joy, I find the strength.
The same principle holds with relationships with those I hold dear as it did with my family that tiring weekend and I have seen it come through in my relationships with my friends as well. Sometimes it feels like I may have gone beyond myself, but just knowing that they are happy, with no intervention of mine, I find strength.
So, feeling weak? Time to make someone else happy…time to make God happy. In making God happy, you’ll surely find the strength you need for life.