I've been wrestling with the phrase, "the joy of the Lord is my strength." I looked it up, and it comes from Nehemiah 8:9-11. The 10th verse makes it very clear: "do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Honestly, I've wondered how joy could be the prescription for grief and for the sense of weakness that comes with grieving.
I've realized recently that the joy that is our strength isn't a joy that we necessarily experience all the time. Our strength comes from the unchanging truth that God is constantly rejoicing because of his perfect knowledge of all things, his perfect control over all circumstances, and his ultimate victory over all his enemies. The Israelites grieved after hearing God's law, probably because they realized they hadn't and couldn't keep his law. But, the leaders told them not to grieve and pointed them to the One who was full of joy at his own victory over their sin. In the same way, the Lord is constantly rejoicing in his own perfect knowledge of our circumstances and in his own victorious control over them.
I don't have His vantage point, but when I recognize that He is always rejoicing I understand that He must see and know something I don't know. I can find strength in that. God knows and controls the outcome of Ian's situation, and somehow it's good, though I don't understand how. When I look up to Him through my sadness wondering how things went so wrong for Ian and Larissa and I recognize that He is compassionately and confidently rejoicing despite Ian's circumstances, I can draw strength from that.
The Lord's joy is my strength.
Thank you for continuing to pray for Ian and for sharing in our struggle.