‘The joy of the Lord is your strength.’
When you listen to a great choir sing the Hallelujah Chorus, you realise that Handel was inspired by God. He wrote the entire Messiah in three weeks. He said the music literally ‘came to him’ in a flurry of notes and motifs. He wrote feverishly, and as if driven by an unseen composer to put pen to paper. Yet he wrote it when his eyesight was failing, and he was facing the threat of dying in a debtors’ prison because of a mountain of outstanding bills. Most of us find it difficult to create under stress, especially when physical or financial problems are at the root of that stress. And yet Handel did. How? He credits the completion of his masterpiece to one thing: joy. He is quoted as saying that he felt as if he would ‘burst with joy’ at what he was hearing in his mind and heart. Instead of dying, as he thought he would, he lived to see his oratorio become a cherished tradition and a popular work. And he also saw it succeed in raising vast sums of money for the poor and destitute. The Bible says, ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength.’ And one of the first things Satan will attack is your joy. He knows it’s the spiritual and emotional fuel you run on. Jesus said, ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full’ (John 15:11 KJV). Note the words ‘remain in you’. So: no matter what happens this year, keep your joy!