I have heard happiness mentioned many times when people are asked what is wanted most in life. This is especially true when I hear parents talking about this in requards to their children. We all just want our kids to have a good education, be successful, and be happy.
If being happy is such a common goal in our world today, why is it that happiness isn’t mentioned even once in the Bible, but the word “joy” is mentioned over 200 times. Is there a difference between happiness and joy? I believe that happiness is a deceiving standard created by our culture. We are lead to believe that if only this or that, fill in the blank, we will be happy. But being happy is a mere feeling. And as human beings with the gift of emotions, we know that feelings are fleeting and can change from one minute to the next.
God, being the Maker of our souls knows what is best for us. Our Saviors’ definition of joy goes much deeper than a simple feeling. We are called to be joyful not only in good times, but also in suffering. Ouch!! This one is tough! God wants our hearts to be so centered in Him that the joy He gives is not waivering, but a constant in our lives.
Joy is a mysterious gift that the Lord gives us as it reaches deep into the abyss of our soul. No person or circumstance can take this gift away. Because of sin in our fallen world, we will all be blindsided with suffering at some point in our lives. But God’s love is so great that He doesn’t want our happiness to be ever changing and unpredictable. He gives us Joy to fill us much deeper and carry us through all seasons in our lives- despite our circumstances that are constantly changing and fleeting.
One day we will meet Jesus face to face and our joy will be complete! Where it will no longer be a fight to hang onto the gift- Joy will just be!!
There have been times in my life where I have wrestled with this battle for joy in my circumstances. A few years ago, a circumstance happened in my life that rocked me to my core. As I fell hard and fast into the dark pit of devastation, I learned to trust Him deeper than I had ever needed to before, and I felt His joy and peace in my heart even during the storm.
I can honestly say now that I truly and intimately know my Lord- Oh how I await that glorious day!! When I will live in eternity with Him and there will no longer be circumstances that try to rob my joy! Until then, I will thankfully embrace the joy that He paints in my heart, and fight to hang on to His gift when life attempts to sell me the lie that happiness is the answer.
With Love- April
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore