As I have been reading through Nehemiah one of the main themes that has come in my head over and over is trust.
In Nehemiah 8 it talks about how Ezra read The Law to the people and the Levites helped the people to understand all that was being said. The reaction of the people was to weep because of how much they had disobeyed God. It is very interesting to see the reaction of the Levites though.
The Levites said that SINCE the day is holy, DO NOT WEEP, but understand THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH (8:10). What an incredible outlook! It is not that weeping is never a proper response, but it seems that many times I hold this misconception in my mind (as much as I speak against it) that as long as I am “sorry enough” God will then see my groveling in the dirt and then count my “repentance” good enough and thus forgive me. This is so dangerous.
This morning I started to pray about many things and then started to ask God to teach me to trust Him more. Immediately thoughts ran off in my head. “Oh, great. Now He is going to hurt me in some way so I trust Him more.” “Maybe He will even take Amber or the boys from me.” “I guess He is just going to crush me in some other way by revealing some other issue in my life that I am terrible in.” Can you see how quickly self centered thoughts dominated my brain AND I decided I should run with them! All of these things may happen and the goodness of God is not dependent upon the difficulties in my life. This is not some impersonal or sadistic view of God. The thing is that He has come to show me that He has conquered ALL evil and therefore each trial, temptation, or tragedy is also a call to worship Him.
How different would my love of trusting Him be, if His joy was my strength? How much more would I even weep properly, if His joy was my strength? How much more would I hate sin, if His joy was my strength? How much less self centered would I be, if His joy was my strength.
Papa, please teach me how to make Your joy be my strength today.