To celebrate the giveaway we're doing with the terrific people at Free Book Friday, each day this week I will be posting a devotional from Waiting with God to give you peek inside this inspiring devotional which was born from my own year of waiting with God.
8 All of those Levites read parts of the Scroll of the Law of God to the people. They made it clear to them. They told them what it meant. So the people were able to understand what was being read.
9 Then Nehemiah and Ezra spoke up. So did the Levites who were teaching the people. All of those men said to the people, “This day is set apart to honor the Lord your God. So don’t sob. Don’t be sad.” All of the people had been sobbing as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah was governor. Ezra was a priest and a teacher of the law.
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy some good food and sweet drinks. Send some of it to those who don’t have any. This day is set apart to honor our Lord. So don’t be sad. The joy of the Lord makes you strong.” Nem 8:8-10
When we are waiting for an answer to prayer, it’s easy to get discouraged.
In fact, sometimes it feels like we’re walking around with a dark cloud over our heads. When we’re waiting, we can’t see an end to our worry, or our wondering if things will work out.
The worst thing that can happen during our time of waiting, is that our anxiety can balloon until it becomes all consuming and we are so consumed with trying to figure out a solution, that we are unable to find joy in any area of our life.
The first time I heard this short, sweet, verse from Nehemiah it took my breath away. I was sitting in church, feeling discouraged about a prayer that I was waiting to be answered, and actually so involved in my own thoughts that I really wasn’t paying close attention to what was being said. And then, thank God, this verse broke through my jumbled thoughts and brought everything into perspective.
When we are in a period of waiting, we might not be able to change our circumstances or hurry the outcome, but that doesn’t mean that it should steal our joy... because, as this verse assures us:
The joy of the Lord makes us strong.
We don’t have to rely on our own strength; God’s strength is more than enough to sustain us. Lean on Him. Seek God in prayer and ask Him to share His joy and His strength with you.
God’s joy can fill our days with gladness until we receive the answer we are waiting for.