We are beginning the journey through the book of James at RCC students and the beginning text says this…count it all joy but it doesn’t always seem like we have a full picture of that idea.
JOY! I know what joy is, or so we think, it is the deep down belief that God is working regardless of whether we see a by product of that deep down feeling expressed in our actions.
We are commanded to find happiness in God.
for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Did you just feel that twinge in your stomach? The challenge we sometimes face in believing this reality that God wants us find joy in Him and that actually looks a lot like happiness is real. Here are five ways that we have a hard time reconciling joy and happiness:
It seems that we observe our life and it would usually reflect a heart that isn’t pursuing our deepest happiness in God. Or we look at our circumstances and we know we are supposed to find joy in God even if we aren’t happy about those said circumstances. Instead of trying to understand what true joy looks like we look at our life and try to redefine joy to meet our experience in difficult circumstances.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
- Good Times = Joy (happiness)
- Difficult Times= Pain and sadness
It would seem that this is a shallow view of life’s circumstances. The clearest picture I can fathom of the death of a loved one who we are confident is headed to glory. Do I grieve the loss of a close family member? YES. Do i rejoice knowing that they are before their creator as he ushers them into his presence….I am. Can I hold both of these at the same time? I believe it is possible. Does it make the difficulties any less challenging…I do not believe so, but does that eliminate the joy and happiness that can be felt- may it never be.