I visited a nursing home today to see a relative. It was 34°C on my car thermometer and, in the home, there was a bit of a party going on for one of the carers, who was leaving. It was very warm and humid and the staff looked somewhat tired and bedraggled. As the entertainer worked her way through a number of well known musical favourites, one particular member of staff stood out. Smiling and laughing, she sang the choruses at the top of her lungs as she whisked various elderly people to their feet for a dance – and they absolutely loved it!
I marvelled at how much energy she still had, even though she was almost at the end of what would likely have been an 8-10 hour shift. The rest of us were wilting severely, though not nearly so active, and huffing and sighing as we mopped our perspiring brows! Her joy was making a noticeable difference to the people she cared for, as well as sustaining her through a physically and emotionally demanding day.
I don’t know if this wonderful lady was a Christian, but I was reminded that “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
What is the joy of the Lord and why is it our strength?
Hebrews 12:2 For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross.
The joy that was set before Jesus was the restoration of the personal relationship between God and man; right back to the beginning, when Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the garden and did not have sin in their lives. Jesus was going to reverse the curse and make righteous all who would believe in his death and resurrection, turn away from their old lives and turn back to God. The veil has been torn and we have a new and living way to come into the Holy of Holies. His name is Jesus!
His joy at enabling this is our strength because, by his sacrifice, we have been made righteous and restored as heirs to the kingdom.