My friend lost her mother recently, someone who I’d been praying for in her battle with cancer for the past several years. In my twenty-some years alive, I haven’t had to see death this close nor walk with someone I love through the pain of it.

If it’d been me, I wouldn’t have handled it as gracefully as my friend did, and watching her walk through the valley was an honor and privilege. Yes, there was pain, there were tears, but amid loss she showed me how much beauty and joy can be found in the brokenness.

I asked her once, “How do you do it? How are you so… steady?”

She replied, “Because Jesus is my anchor, the only reason I’m able to have this peace.”

In our verse today, we’re told the joy of the Lord is our strength, but what does that mean when you are walking through trial? Most people have one of two reactions when dealing with storms in their lives, either turn to or turn away from the Lord. I’ve been guilty of doing the latter all too often, but God revealed to me that the joy of the Lord is simply a form of constant gladness that stems from an inner strengthening of our walk with him. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, he has restored our peace and our joy rests in his care.

It doesn’t mean we don’t feel our emotions, it just means that despite them, we choose to praise the Lord and find the strength to walk through the fire with his hand in ours.

Lord, help me to find joy in your presence when seasons of storms, trials, and brokenness enter my life. You are my Good News and even though the things I’m going through are hard and painful, remind me of your glorious plan for my life and comfort me through the turbulence.

Today's Challenge: Today, instead of focusing on the storms in front of you and wondering how you are ever going to get through them; think of a moment in the past where you felt the same way and remember how God sustained you through them. He is still the same God today as he was then, and more than ready to carry you through your present struggle.

Tags: hardship Nehemiah 8 Joy suffering mental health