One of the instruments I play is the violin. Although I am a bit rusty these days, my years of playing have given me an even greater appreciation of the following true story about the famous Italian Violinist, Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840). He was once playing a difficult piece of music before a large audience when suddenly one string on his violin snapped. This might have caused most violinists to stop the show, but not Paganini. He continued to play improvising beautifully. Then, without warning, two more strings broke. There aren’t many who could continue after such a setback, but Paganini kept playing and completed the composition playing with only one string. With that story in mind, Charles Swindoll said this: “The longer I live, the more convinced I become that life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we respond to it.”
If that is so, we need God’s resources to respond to the circumstances of life. One of God’s resources is JOY. It says in Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Joy is God’s wonderful provision to his people for their day-to-day living. This verse is a reminder that our joy comes from the Lord. It’s called “the joy of the Lord” and it is God’s resource to give us strength.
• Do you need more strength to face a trial?
• Do you need more strength to handle a relationship?
• Do you need more strength to deal with disappointment?
The joy of the Lord is your strength. Ultimately, joy is found in someone, not something. Joy is found in the Lord Jesus, not our circumstances.
It says in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” We aren’t told to rejoice in our circumstances, which are constantly changing; rather we are commanded to rejoice in the Lord, who never changes. We can rejoice that our sins are forgiven, and that we have a God who loves us. We can rejoice that we have Christian friends and a good church community. We can rejoice that we have the Word of God to guide us, and the Holy Spirit to lead us. We can rejoice that we have seen answers to prayer, and that we have a reason for living. We can rejoice that we have a hope for the future, and that when we die things will be better not worse because we’ll go to be with the Lord. This is what it means to rejoice in the Lord. And all this we can rejoice in no matter what difficulty we are going through. And of course there are other reasons why we can rejoice. We may have a good job, a wonderful family, financial security, or relatively good health, but those things are secondary to our primary reason for rejoicing, which is the Lord.