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The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength

Difficult Times / The Valley

We all go through difficult times. Sometimes it only lasts a day; sometimes it lasts years. Sometimes it’s something minor; sometimes it’s losing a loved one. Whatever the case may be, we should never falsely believe that we’re alone and that nobody can understand us.

First, there are others in the world who are hurting and who have gone through similar things, maybe not the exact thing, but similar. Second, even if no one else on earth has experienced what we have, God can empathize with us. God is all love and empathy. No one can empathize like God can, and he cares about every little thing that affects us. Just as a father hurts when his child hurts, God hurts when we hurt.

One of the greatest gifts God has given parents is the ability to comfort their children when they are hurting. Being able to hold them and rock them and tell them it will be okay is a blessing. Not being able to do this is torture. God feels the same way. He wants to be able to hold us and whisper words of encouragement to us. He wants to cover us with his love and peace like only He can. When we don’t let Him, we’re not only hurting ourselves, we’re hurting our Father.


God’s Intricate Plan

You may be thinking, “That’s great, but why can’t he prevent the bad stuff from happening in the first place?” This is a question that people have been asking since the beginning of time. Why does God allow some things and not others? Why do bad things happen to good people? Is God causing this to teach us, or is He just letting it happen for another reason?

Every situation is different, so there is no perfect answer, apart from this…

We are the creation and He is the creator. We aren’t meant to understand everything. In fact, if you think about it, it’s a good thing that we can’t understand God’s whole intricate plan. First, if we could understand it, we’d be thinking about it all the time, and the whole point is to not have to worry about it. Knowing God is in control of everything allows us to let go of the reins, sit back, and enjoy the ride with faith in our captain.

Second, think about this: Do you really want the God of the entire universe, the One we put our faith and trust in, to have a plan that is so simple a human can understand it? Seriously, think about it. If God’s plan was simple enough for us to understand, than would we really be any better off than if we just followed our own plan?

God’s intricate plan has been compared to a tapestry, which is quite fitting. He weaves all of us into one giant tapestry across nations and over time. Every one of us working together to form one, beautiful picture.

But have you ever looked at the back of a tapestry? It’s not so pretty, and it doesn’t usually look like much. For the most part, all we get to see is one tiny section of the back of this tapestry. Close-up it may look ugly and messy, and it probably feels that way at times. If we were able to see through God’s eyes, though, we’d see a beautiful picture with each thread serving a purpose. We just have to trust that God is who He says He is – all-powerful, all-knowing, and, above all, loving.


The Abundant Life

Believe it or not, God wants us to have an abundant life here on earth. It’s not just heaven that He cares about. He wants us to live abundantly now. John 10:10 says, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. What’s hard for us to grasp, though, is that an abundant life doesn’t mean a carefree life with no problems.

God’s version of an “abundant life” may not be loads of money and a fancy house. It may be, but that’s not for us to decide. We don’t know what’s best for us. God does. In fact, oftentimes what we think is best for us is the very thing that would hurt us in the long run.

We don’t know what that abundant life looks like for sure, but we do know that it is filled with joy, love, and peace, even amidst trials. Sometimes it is the very trials we hate that help us to wake up enough to receive those things from God.

God wants us to be free of worries, stress, and frustrations. The only way we can be free of those negative things is by trusting in God and letting Him lead us to where He wants us to go. It may not be on our timetable, and we may have to go through rough patches to get there, but He is leading us there. In the meantime, we can still rest in His all-encompassing peace and never-ending grace.


The Secret to Strength

We all need strength to get through life’s trials. Knowing they serve a bigger purpose in God’s plan can only help us to an extent. We need God’s strength while we’re in the trenches of our day-to-day struggles.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. This verse shows us the secret for getting God’s strength. It’s through the joy of the Lord that we get strength. So what are we to do? Simple. Bring God joy. Ask God to reveal to you how you can best bring Him joy, and do that. As you do this, you will receive His strength.

If you’re not sure where to start, just spend time with Him. God desires to spend time with us, so when we fellowship with God, we bring Him joy. As we spend more time with Him, we’ll be able to recognize His voice and know further what He wants us to do.

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