“Jesus may have said man shall not live by bread alone, but He said nothing about moms living by caffeine alone,” I joked to my husband while sucking down my second cup of coffee after a hectic morning. Icy roads, school delays, and blow-out diapers had not set us off on the right foot. I was frustrated because I was going to be late to work (again), but in the midst of the craziness, I felt a gentle prompting in my spirit to meditate on Nehemiah 8:10:
For the joy of the Lord is your strength.
In this verse, Nehemiah was telling all of the people who had been standing for hours, listening to him read the law, to go home and refresh themselves, eat their best food, and send food to those who did not have any. But, most importantly, he was reminding them to rejoice! Why? Because mourning does not reflect a God who is bigger than our circumstances.
We live messy lives, and reflecting on all of the ways we fall short of perfection can often lead to regret or sorrow. But reflecting on Jesus should always lead us back to a place of thankfulness.
Note that this verse does not say, “Your joy is your strength.” But rather, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Hebrews 12:2 shares a little more about the joy of the Lord:
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In this verse, the joy of the Lord was us! Jesus endured the cross because His heart was set on our redemption and restoration.
Friends, we all know life is tough. Days will be hard. But remember that, as Christians, our unshakable strength comes—not from our circumstances (or our coffee)—but from knowing Jesus and His unyielding love for us.