Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10, NIV
Sheila wanted to explain the concept of the “joy of the Lord” to her children. So she grabbed two glasses from her kitchen cabinet and placed them on the table. Then she filled a pitcher with water.
She used a marker to draw faces on each glass. “Each glass represents a person,” she explained when she was done. “This one is Minnie. Minnie has beautiful dresses, parents that love her, and all the toys she could want. She always gets to eat her favorite meals.”
Then Sheila grabbed the other glass. “This one is Martha. Her family is poor. She only has two dresses to wear to school. But her parents love her. She doesn’t have a lot of toys, and she doesn’t get to eat her favorite foods every day.”
“Now,” Sheila gestured to the glasses. “Which girl is happier?”
When her children suggested that Minnie was, Sheila filled up Martha’s glass instead. “Martha has the joy of Jesus, even though her circumstances are hard. God can give us help to get through difficult days. The joy of the Lord can be our strength.”
Lord, please let the joy of the Lord be my strength today. I don’t want to let my circumstances determine how happy I am. Instead, I put my eyes on You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.