image courtesy of Associated Press (via Times Union)
Today is a remembrance of one of the most evil attacks on US soil. There have been many memorial services honoring the lives of friends and loved ones we lost on that day. As Christians we are told to be joyful always and that the joy of the Lord is our strength (1 Thessalonians 5:16 & Nehemiah 8:10). How is this possible in the midst of such pain and tragedy?
In Nehemiah chapter 8, the Israelites just finished rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. In gratitude they all gathered to listen to the public reading of Scripture. As they listened they became convicted by their disobedience to God’s commands. Grief began to rise, so Nehemiah called a joyful celebration stating that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Nehemiah recognized that grief that lasts beyond its time saps energy and leads away from faith. Joy leads us into the heart of the Lord and helps us see His joy for us. Grief has its season, but joy is our lifestyle (Psalm 30:5).
How can we enter into God’s joy in the midst of evil?
- Choose to believe that God’s goodness is greater than the evil you are experiencing.
- Thank God for His goodness and actively look for evidences of his goodness that still lives.
- Activate your faith in God’s goodness by choosing to focus on joy.
I am not insinuating that joy is easy, nor should we ever forget what has happened. Life can be extremely difficult, but joy is an act of faith in God’s goodness for you. If God is for us, which we know is true, than we can always find joy.