Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10, NASB)
I wrote the hymn below out of deep grief. On February 20, 2015, our 38-year-old son, David, took his own life. It was totally unexpected, and we were overwhelmed with a sorrow we had never experienced.
As the months passed and the grief still shrouded our souls, I tried my normal way of processing thoughts and feelings: I attempted to write about my grief. But when I did, the river of sorrow within me overflowed and engulfed me. Writing about my grief only made it worse.
Eventually I began to realize that God was calling me to focus, not on grief, but on joy. He was teaching me to live in joy, even when flooded with deepest sorrow. He prodded me to write about and sing about the joy that is always mine in Christ. Situations change, often beyond our control. But Jesus Christ does not change. Who He is in us and who we are in Him is right now our bright, eternal, all-encompassing reality. Christ is our unchanging joy, springing up forever, refreshing us whenever we obey the Bible’s urgent reminder to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NASB)
When Jesus was in the darkest hours of His life, facing trial, torture, and execution, He spoke to His disciples about His fullness of joy. He longed to share with them His deep joy in the midst of sorrow.
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11, NASB)
During my time of grief, our loving Father is teaching me to drink deeply of Jesus Christ, my always and forever fountain of joy. This hymn was written primarily for myself, as a way to daily rejoice in Christ. I gladly share it with you.