Each September, some of us feel eagerness and excitement about the return to school, work or ‘regular’ life. Others of us wish that summer could last all year. Regardless of what frame of mind you enter this fall, we all need strength and motivation to sustain us through the road that lies ahead.

During a new beginning in the life of God’s people, Nehemiah spoke an unexpected phrase to the gathered crowd: “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) In other words, true strength does not arise from sheer determination, but from sustained communion with the source of Joy. What relief! In a way, it’s the gospel in miniature: God’s work, not our effort,
leads to new life and strength.

This past year, I have encountered wild joy in the lives of children and youth who are serving God with their whole souls. I sat with Muriel Carder and was amazed by the vivacity she possesses even into her nineties. I have seen joy in giving, joy in learning and joy even in grieving.

It’s hard to be around people, young and old, who live joyful lives and not want in on that joy. It’s completely contagious. As you enter this fall season, I pray that you’ll find strength not in will power but in joy power. Look where others aren’t looking. And may the Joy you find propel you, your family and your church towards hope, adventure and holy abundance this coming year.

By: Tim McCoy
Published in the Fall Edition of the Canadian Baptist

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