Joy is a powerful word that often brings smiles to people’s faces, and most would love to claim that this exists in their day to day activities. However, difficult and unexpected circumstances arise, which usually leave us sad, depressed, and lacking joy, right? Wrong.
What the world describes here is quite different from abounding joy found in Christ. Happiness and joy are often used interchangeably, but these words actually have drastically different meanings. Lane P. Jordan clearly explains this distinction in a Crosswalk article: “Happiness is what happens around you with your circumstances, and joy is what happens deep inside your spirit and soul.” When we focus on pursuing God and remembering that He is in control of our surrounding situations, we will be freed from the never-ending cycle of happiness and sorrow and can instead experience true joy.
As Christians, we are instructed to live by the Spirit and in joy, but that does not mean we can never grieve. The Bible shows us multiple examples of how Jesus had righteous anger and even wept, yet throughout these situations He continued to seek God. If we do the same and pursue Him wholeheartedly, we will be able to abide in the tremendous joy found in Christ no matter our situation in life.
The account of Joseph provides a wonderful example of someone continually pursuing God during a difficult time: “But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Genesis 39:21 ESV). In events preceding this, Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers, accused of sexual assault, and thrown into prison. Having already having gone through so much, it would not be surprising if he decided to give up on God. Nevertheless, Joseph continued to chase after God and was able to be joyous in the fact that the Lord watched over him in this difficult time. While everyone will face hard moments in their life, we must continue to seek God with all our heart, mind, and soul regardless of the circumstance. Then and only then we will experience the gift of endless joy found in Christ.
~Emily Joy Schubert
Emily Schubert (15) is on staff at CLM/TPS Chapel and a sophomore at TPS