What is it?
What the heck is 'joy' anyway?
It is an enigma!
So often we are given the pat, Christian statement "remember, brother (or sister, depending on your situation), the 'joy of the Lord is your strength.'"
Well, woopty-friggin'-doo, buddy! What does it mean?!
So, I looked it up. (Nehemiah 8:10...yeah, it shocked me, too. Who ever uses that book?)
'Joy', in the Hebrew has about 25 different words to describe it; in the Greek 17. Needless to say, both of these cultures seemed to really DIG joy, rejoicing, merriment, pleasure and the like.
(I mean, they REALLY like merriment and pleasure. See the etymology on 'orgy'; from the Greek word referencing secret rites for the gods, which comes from the root 'worg-', which is where we get our word 'worship.' Freaky, huh?)
Within the context, it is my best interpretation that "the joy of the Lord is your strength" is a phrase that implies that God derives joy from you being strong! Too often, pat-Christian-answer guy (who typically has a Texas draw) is implying that we will gain strength by rejoicing in the Lord.
Now, that is a REAL stinkin' difference, so which definition is it? Hey, look it up for yourself and you decide!
But, you know what I found that was cool?
Well, follow me on this path.
First, I saw this. I was laughing hysterically. (If you don't find that funny, a) you have no sense of humor, so b) try this instead.)
Then, I got to thinking and a scripture hit my brain. You may know the one I am talking about.
Another quote from pat-Christian-answer guy:
"'A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,' brother, so cheer up!" (Prov. 17:22)
After beating that guy with the ugly stick, I wondered "does the word 'merry' correlate to 'joy'?"
AND HECK YEAH IT DID! The particular Hebrew word for 'merry' was also used as 'joy' in other places in the old testament.
That scripture could be said like this: "A joyful, rejoicing heart doeth good like a medicine."
"Soooooo, what are you saying, Grant? Get to the point."
I know. I know. Just bear with me.
I met with a client last night. She was frustrated with work, and frustrated with her client who is her long-lost friend, and frustrated with her house catching on fire...she was just frustrated. Any topic I picked, she was frustrated about that, too.
We were talking about attitude affecting her business and her ability to perform. She agreed. Blah blah blah.
But I got her laughing about some foolish thing or another, and we were just chuckling. Then I jumped right back to the topic.
She was a little more open to the solutions I was providing, but there was still some resistance.
So, for a quick second, I made some hair-brained remark that made her laugh a little bit more. Well, now when we spoke you could tell that she wanted to smile, but she was trying to cover up her mouth with her hand and be discrete about it.
I jumped right back into the solution, and she was totally open to it and agreed.
This whole process affirmed to me that:
A) a merry heart DOES do good like a medicine. It was like she took Prozac on the spot because she swung from total frustration to total hope in just an hour or so. And,Now how cool is that?!
B) she is now available for the Lord to strengthen her, through me perhaps, through the plan of action we came up, or just through her confidence returning to her spirit. The joy, or merriment, of the Lord became her strength.
Maybe I shouldn't have beaten pat-Christian-answer guy with a stick after all.