There’s a difference between happiness and joy…the joy that is mentioned in the “fruit of the spirit” in the Bible. There are circumstances that we go through in life that just are not the kind that anyone would be happy in. The Bible even says that Jesus wept. And they weren’t happy tears. I don’t imagine even God the Son was happy when he was suffering on that cross. I don’t imagine Paul was happy when he was imprisoned, and beaten, and shipwrecked, and endured harsh trials. I don’t imagine Mother Teresa was happy caring for all those dying people…seeing death like she did on a daily basis, not to mention the suffering. But I do imagine they had a ‘joy’ from within, because of the knowledge that God is good and there through it all…and the knowledge of an eternity with Him when it would all be over.
I had a friend ask me once, “Don’t you think that God wants you to be happy?” My answer was that I don’t know. Looking at all of that…at people who have served God faithfully not just in Biblical times, but in more modern times and have suffered through great trials in the midst of them…I cannot say that God wants me to be happy. I can say that he wants me to have joy within…and peace that passes understanding.
As for the “joy” mentioned in the fruit of the spirit, it is followed immediately by “longsuffering”…also “patience” in some translations. But it still indicates times when we’re waiting for the answers and probably not happy through a lot of it.
I love the Lord, and trust him. But I am most definitely not always happy in my circumstances. There are people who preach that God wants us to have all that we desire all the time, and to be rich and never be sick or go through trials. But the trials make us stronger…or rather, they make him stronger within us. They are ways that God’s glory can be seen in greater ways sometimes.
Just some Thursday thoughts. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Love and blessings,