Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The joy of the Lord is my strength...

This Sunday at So Hills we did something called "cardboard testimonies." The idea is simple- we are all broken, and yet in Christ, we are made whole again. Below is a video of some of the testimonies. I had the chance to talk to an older church member who also happens to be one of my professors about it. He is someone who I really respect and someone who has genuinely helped me reconcile my faith when I was near the end of my rope. He and I both agreed, that what we did was a powerful reminder God restores. I still find myself struggling everyday with the fact that in so many ways both sides of my cardboard are still true, and yet that is the beauty of it, in spite of everything God is still making me new again. This week at my life group we talked about joy. In doing my research for the discussion I came across the story of Nehemiah. Basically, the Israelites have been in captivity for 70 years and Jerusalem was destroyed, and even though they had rebuilt their lives were in shambles. On the day of celebration when they were celebrating the completion of the wall around the city, Ezra was reading them the word. Even though this should have been a joyous occasion, the Israelites wailed and weeped. They had forgotten their faith, they had forgotten about God. They were a mess. So Nehemiah says to them "This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." What I love about this story is that after he says this the Israelites remember and begin to celebrate and worship the Lord. In so many ways, this story is my story. My family has a good life. We have a new home, in many ways a nicer home than we had before the storm, and yet my family is a mess. In so many ways I had lost my faith and forgotten about God, and when he was thrown back at me it overwhelmed me, often to the point of tears. And yet the joy of the Lord is my strength... Praise God for that.

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