Nehemiah 8:10b – For the joy of the Lord is your strength. (NASB)
This summer, on one weekend, we went camping in the mountains. The further we went into the wilderness, the more I wondered if we had made a good choice to camp there. The road was rough, the way was desolate, the bridges were narrow, the tunnels were dark. What had we gotten ourselves into? Finally, late in the evening, we arrived at the campsite. Thankfully, others had gone ahead of us, and camp was all set up — ready for us.
There were waterfalls close by, so we all decided to bike to see them the next morning. The distance was three-and-a-half kilometres, one way — in the mountains! Was it ever hard work going up the hills — but what fun going down the other side! We were riding on a gravel road, which made the biking harder than a paved bike trail in town. When we got to the falls, we were exhausted! But oh, the beauty! It was breath-taking! We could climb up the mountain a ways and view the falls from a different angle. I stood in awe, filled with joy, out in the wilderness in this majestic scene God had made for us. The ride back didn't seem quite so hard. Viewing the wonderful waterfalls had given us strength.
In life we have hard work to do, too. We have past hurts to deal with, and that is difficult. We have addictions to break, and that is hard work. We have wrong thought patterns that need to be changed, and that is hard. But the beauty at the end of all the hard work is breath-taking! After each hard task is accomplished, we become a little more like Jesus. The hard work is worth it all.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes life is difficult. We have things to work through, and it is hard work. Help us not to faint during these times. Give us Your joy, we pray. As we learn in today's verse, that joy is our strength. Thank You. Amen.