Joy v Happiness

It was suggested to a dear friend of mine that her dour Scottish husband was happy really, it just hadn’t got round to his face! How many Christians are like this? We carry a joy deep within, but often it is only seen by fellow believers when we feel free to share about the light of our lives. Or, ironically through the difficult times, when it is often noted that the Christian responds or recovers in a different way. Could it be the difference between joy and happiness? The world looks for happiness, expecting to find it through people, possessions, experiences. No one wants to be sad. No one is happy about suffering in any guise.

But life is not all sunshine! Happiness is a transient thing dependant on circumstances. Some people live with devastating circumstances. Our hearts go out to the ones struggling with abuse, neglect; with broken hearts, broken promises, broken dreams; broken bodies, broken spirits, broken lives. It takes enormous strength and resources to come through such trials better, not bitter. Often, human nature being what it is, it is impossible. Hidden not far below the surface smile is deep hurt, regret, guilt, shame, despair. Scratch the surface and often the chain reaction is nothing to do with the moment.

More bewildering still is the person who apparently has everything. The looks, the money, the successful career, the good marriage, the happy family, all needs met. And yet! How many people do we see, who by the world’s measure have it all and blow it? Why we ask? Why, because with everything the world has to offer one can still be left with a gnawing emptiness. And so, the illicit affair, the risky deal, the secret life, looking to fill the emptiness, to find peace. In all man’s wisdom, he looks in the wrong places. The world entices, then entraps! Heaven provided a plan of provision and escape before the beginning of time, to transcend time. Joy eternal!

You say, “I am rich. I have become wealthy. I don’t need anything.” Yet you don’t realize that you are miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore, I advise you to buy from Me gold purified in fire so you may be rich, white clothes to wear so your shameful nakedness won’t show, and ointment to put on your eyes so you may see. I correct and discipline those whom I love, so be serious and repent! Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat ¬†with Me. To the one who conquers I will give a place to sit with Me on My throne, just as I have conquered and have sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:17-21

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