When we feel happy it ‘s because things around us are good and going well. We are content with our surroundings and we find pleasure in where we are and who we are with. When it comes to joy though there is a difference in the sense that we can have joy even through suffering. Joy comes from the anticipation of what is to come. So when we can be joyfully happy it’s extra special because you can be happy in the moment knowing that there is more great and wonderful things to come. Take for instance when a woman is pregnant. She may not always be happy that her body aches and is changing all the time but she is anticipating the coming day when we will get to hold her baby in her arms. Another example that comes to mind is when someone will happily go on a road trip because they know at the end of the trip a loved one waits for them.
The joy that was talked about throughout the Bible didn’t usually have happiness attached with it because it was more associated with an inner strength. Not to say the people that had the joy were not happy they just didn’t rely on others for their joy, they already had it embedded in them.
Peter wrote about this as with having the knowledge of Jesus, writing “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Pet 1:8). Even in our trials James writes that we should “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). This helped Jesus endure the cross “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).
My daughter Leah had been waiting and building up her courage to climb the big maple tree we have in our backyard. She is very much an introvert and loves to find places to be by herself whether to read or just sit and draw. The maple tree has some pretty big branches that she can sit on for a long time but the problem is that she has to get to them. Her first obstacle is to work past her fear of heights. She already knows that once she gets to those branches it is going to be so cool (inner joy), but first she has to get there. Now there is no rushing Leah, so today after church she went and got her ladder, she put it up against the tree and climbed it. She got to the third rung and saw that she would have to squeeze her foot into a small space to get onto a branch higher up, and then from there pull herself to the fork that would be the future Leah hiding spot. For today though, just seeing what she would have to do and realizing that she really could step off the ladder into the foot space made her very happy. She didn’t make it to the final destination but she did see that she could overcome her fear of heights and that it wasn’t an impossibility to get to that sweet spot up in the tree.
Every morning I wake up to go on a walk, not because I like getting up early but because it helps my joy levels refill. It’s a recharge for me and it helps to make my day doable. I am a happy gal for the most part but it’s because I have joy, I know that no matter what my day holds I have a peace and a joy that comes from my faith and knowing that I am not doing this alone. I know at the end of the day, I will come home to my hubby who loves me, my kids who drive me crazy, and my pets who have this way of wiggling onto my lap when I finally sit down. This is joy, I may not always be happy during the day and there are days when I wish I could crawl into a hole but joy keeps me going.
Joy is important to find, it doesn’t always come with happiness but it does come with strength and peace. How can you find your joy? Being joyfully happy is amazing! Find your smile in the small things, find your joy in the strength you have inside. Until next time:
Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy.