so this joy thing…

22 Dec

I have become really good at speaking Christianese. What I mean is, I have mastered the art of knowing what to say when difficult questions regarding spirituality arise. A discussion that I have found so often is one surrounding JOY. What is joy? Is it the same as happiness? Is being “joyful always” even possible? WHHHHAAAAAA.

I got good at telling people the difference between happiness and joy. I would say that deep joy is something that exceeds circumstances. That joy is something that can be present at all times, even in the darkest ones. Happiness was a fleeting thing.

And while I agree with this things here, I have found that in these past few months, I have been far from a living example of these answers.

I have spent the first semester of my college experience complaining. There’s no glossing over that. Whether I voice it or not (and oftentimes, I have voiced it. Ask everyone), complaining is something I have turned to daily to somehow ease my discomfort. And my idea of joy has shifted from this deep seeded thing from the Lord to something that mirrors worldly happiness, yet as this was happening, I didn’t even notice it.

But now, as I watch the coverage of the Newtown massacre, I realize a few things. Firstly, my life is GOOD. It is sweet and simple and satisfying and joyful. Even my greatest pains seem selfish and tiny compared to the devastation of burying a child. Even moreso, though, I have started to understand a little more about so-called “joy”.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks.” We usually stop there, but it goes on to say that this is GOD’S WILL for you in Christ Jesus. It is such a reminder that our JOY must be rooted in Jesus, that we must look at everything situation with thanks and rejoicing, because we have hope that exceeds beyond our life here. It is through Jesus Christ that we are able to have an eternal hope.

John 15:11 says, “ I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” This one hits me even harder. Jesus wants our joy in Him. He wants us to understand His joy. What’s even freakier is that our pains can’t compare to His. He lived his life KNOWING the pain that would end it. He did nothing to deserve it and could do anything he wanted to stop it, yet knew that he wouldn’t. THAT is pain. Yet, he knows a joy because of his Father and the hope he has in the salvation He brings.

So after going on and on, I do have a point. My point is that I have a hope that far exceeds the anxieties of my day. My hope is bigger than sorority rush. It is bigger than my freshman year, my summer plans, my college experience, my future marriage, EVERYTHING. My hope in JESUS CHRIST. The Prince of Peace. My hope is in my salvation and literally NO circumstance can hinder that.


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