“… for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 NASB1995)
I had an epiphany today: the joy OF the Lord is (my) strength. Not “joy IN the Lord” but “joy OF the Lord. The joy of the Lord has nothing to do with my desires, my feelings, my emotions. It has everything to do with God’s feelings, God’s desires, God’s emotions.
The joy of the Lord is God waking me up in the morning before I want to get up, urging me to spend some time together with Him. The joy of the Lord is as I’m reading stories in the Bible, God emphasizes certain passages, words, ideas that stir my heart. The joy of the Lord is when these ideas open my mind and I look up and there God is! The great, glorious rush of ebullient dawn pierced by the soaring melodies of unseen birds, softened by the soothing sighs of Sampson’s breath reveal their pulsing, joyous energy, hardly contained in the infinite space of now. My heartbeat jumps, my eyes sparkle, the expected weight of the day slides off like slush from a roof and everything seems probable through the twinkle in God’s eyes. THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!
“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19 NASB1995)