joy in the midst of sorrow?

C. S. Lewis said that we should not base our happiness on something we could lose. The subject of “happiness” verses biblical joy is a topic that I find important. Here is an exchange from Fb the other day when a friend posted this: “Is it possible to tell the difference between happiness and joy if things are going well?” I responded with this:

“People are fond of saying “x made me happy,” thus happiness, as it has been said, is a state of mind which is based largely on external circumstances. Biblical joy, as we read the other day, is a fruit of the Spirit. Thus, belief leads to joy, we can rejoice because of God even when we are unhappy. Therefore, the difference is, perhaps, between feeling and being. Your circumstance can affect your emotion and make you happy. Joy is a gift of God as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Hence we be joyful in all circumstances.”

As I have reflected about joy verses happiness today as I have thought about my friend Ron, I realize anew how important having biblical joy as a gift from God is when we deal will sorrow.

Listen, happiness is awesome and my existence has plenty of it because of my family and friends, but lasting joy and being able to rejoice in all things is based on a joy that comes from belief not circumstances.

We can experience sorrow with hope in the fact that our brothers in Christ may have left the Shadowlands but have entered the Real Existence in the very presence of God. Thanks be to God for the work of Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. He is the true source of joy. Joy lasts when happiness fades. Thanks be to God for lasting joy.

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