Joy is Infectious. So is Strength.

This is an excerpt from “Lena,” one of Margaret Jensen’s wonderful books.

Lena Rogers worked as a cook in a college infirmary, and she became a trusted confidant and a source of wisdom for many of the students. A young woman came to Lena to pour out her fear of being ridiculed for wanting to remain a virgin. Lena described her own experience of having felt weak-kneed when a certain good-looking, sweet-talking man came calling.

After encouraging the young woman to call out to Jesus and trust in Him, Lena said:

“I hope you listens, child — not just your ears, but your heart.

“But love suffers long. It be patient to wait and [be] kind so no sweet girl gets in trouble, and love isn’t selfish, but gentle and understanding. That kind of love be strong. Come Sunday morning, my knees feel so strong and my soul feels so good I just start singing, ‘Precious Lord, take my hand,’ and the choir come right along and sing, ‘O sweet Jesus, take my hand.’

“You know why the choir can sing right along? That be soul music. We feels the same burdens, the same lonesomeness, the same hunger, the same tired from a long week, but we feels the same Jesus taking our hand, and first thing you know, we got the whole church singing, ‘Precious Lord, take my hand,’ then the joy comes and we can sing, ‘Every time I feels the Spirit in my heart, I will pray.’ Then we gets happy.

“The Bible says the joy of the Lord is your strength. Now I ask you, child, how you be strong if you not happy? You gets your joy from the Lord, not from the world.”