Spotlight 10: The joy in the Lord is our strength
Life is not always full of joy. Sometimes we go through phases of sadness. How we can find new strength is something District Apostle Raúl Eduardo Montes de Oca Daiqui (Brazil and Bolivia) describes in his article on our annual motto.
At the time when Judah was a province of the Persian Empire, Nehemiah heard about the desolate state of the city of Jerusalem. For days, Nehemiah, who was a cup-bearer to the king, wept and would not be consoled. When the king realized how sad Nehemiah was he allowed him to go to Jerusalem as governor and gave him the mission to rebuild the city.
As soon as Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he immediately did a secret inspection of the city by night and developed a plan on how it could be rebuilt. This plan was carried out with so much skill and such a great deal of enthusiasm, that the repair and rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls and gates was completed in just 52 days. This was not an easy task. While some of the people were working on rebuilding the city wall, others kept guard over Judah’s hostile neighbours who threatened them (Nehemiah 4: 17). Nehemiah encouraged the people and told them, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8: 10).
The Chief Apostle has given us a very encouraging motto for the year 2015 so that we can continue to build on our faith and make progress.
Maybe some of us will be faced with situations this year that bring us a great deal of sadness, just like Nehemiah. But let us never give up, because we have to keep on working and building on our souls. There are various sources of strength we can tap into and which the Lord provides for us. From these we can draw everything we need, and we will see that joy will return to our souls. We find joy in
- the word that we hear in the divine services and which we accept with a believing heart;
- the forgiveness of sins, which we grasp in faith;
- the conscious celebration of Holy Communion; and in
- fervent prayers.
These are sources that we can surely all tap into and which will provide us with the strength we need so that we can confidently move on to our eternal goal.
Raúl Montes de Oca