The word happiness evokes visions of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, strolling hand in hand with one you love, being surprised on your birthday, responding with unbridled laughter to a comedian, or vacationing in an exotic locale.
Everyone wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal a life long pursuit: spending money, collecting things and searching for new experiences.
But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when toys rust, loved one die, friends disappoint, health deteriorates, money is stolen and the party is over? Often happiness flees and despair sets in.
In contrast to happiness stands joy. Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God’s love and work in our lives – knowing He will be there no matter what!
Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on relying on Him.
We can have profound contentment, serenity and peace no matter what happens. This joy comes from depending on His strength rather than our own. We can have joy even in hardship.
Joy comes from inward strength not outward circumstances. We must not rely on what we have or what we experience but on He who gives us strength.
“I can do all things through He who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
In the midst of hardship, it’s easy to turn on one another. But we should rather unite against our mutual enemy.
We must remember:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies (each other), but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Paul had faced excruciating poverty, abundant wealth and everything in between. He even wrote about joy while unjustly imprisoned.
Whatever the circumstances, Paul learned to be content finding real joy as he focused all of his attention and energy on knowing God through Jesus.
Yes, we should enjoy the happiness while it lasts but embrace joy all the while for it alone is all that will endure.
Joy is no conciliation prize it is the key to contentment and abundant life.
Storms are temporary but joy reigns forever!
The dawn will come even in our darkest hour.
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. For you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
(Some original thoughts on and excerpts from the Life Application)