Joy of the Lord

Joy of the Lord

 

24227811643_d0aae13129_bNehemiah 8:10–Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

How refreshing to think I don’t have to fight to be strong. It’s the joy of the Lord that gives me strength. Of course, being an overachiever, I worked for years to make myself be joyful in the Lord in order to make myself strong. Sigh.

While it is true that being joyful in the Lord, meaning we’re joyful because He has saved us, gives us strength, what if there’s another way of looking at this verse? What if we don’t have to be joyful right now, in this season, in order to be strong? What if we can be strong by resting in the knowledge that even now, when everything seems to be a swirl of angst, bad attitudes, grief and pain, He is joyful? What if what’s happening around me hasn’t totally ruined God’s day? If He is still on the throne, in control, working things out to the best possible end? Maybe that’s where true strength lies. Not in my ability to be strong enough or happy enough. In His joy. In His ability to not be blown about by circumstances, thrown into despair or depression. It doesn’t depend on me; it depends on Him continuing to be, well, Him. He is joyful enough, strong enough, faithful enough. If I can remember that, I can be strong.

Beauty

Beauty

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Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.- Philippians 4:8

Beauty is fascinating.
It is everywhere, yet elusive.
In the midst of people behaving badly, where chaos presses in on every side, beauty can be hard to find.

This is part of what drives my artistic decisions.
The need to find peace.
The need for a happy place to dwell.

Today I’m grateful that beauty always exists.
That it is there, waiting. Waiting to be that reminder that God is still in charge and has an amazing plan. It drives me to my camera to find the still small place where beauty exists. Where the promises of God still shine. And in that place, as I encounter who He is, the Great Artist and Creator, I remember who I am.