“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy.”
Joy and happiness. These two words may seem similar, but they have very different meanings. Happiness depends on what happens. In the dictionary it is described as “a state of being happy.” Happiness is when your job is steady and you have no financial problems. Happiness is when your perfectly healthy. Happiness is when everything is going just as you want. On the other hand, joy is an overflowing river that runs through you not only for a time, but forever. Joy is when you lose your job, but there is still a song in your heart. It is when your diagnosed with cancer, but you can still rejoice in the Lord. It is when everything is falling apart, but you can still say it is well with my soul. Happiness fades but joy never fails.
Everyone has a desire to find lasting joy. But the problem is that everyone thinks you have to be happy to have joy. So they spend tons of money splurging on themselves. They spend hours working to get the biggest and best jobs. They do everything they can to achieve happiness… and they do. But the moment their dream life begins to fall, happiness slips away and joy feels impossible to reach. That is when the truth about joy comes out: you do not have to be happy to have joy; you have to have Jesus. He is our ultimate source of joy. He alone can fulfill that desire for joy in us like nothing else can.
How does Jesus fill us with joy? One of my favorite quotes about joy answers this question: “It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full.” When we ask Jesus into our hearts, He dwells within us and His joy lives in us. Joy is not something that humans can obtain alone because it is not of the flesh, but of the Spirit of Christ. Psalms 16:11 tells us that in God’s presence is fullness of joy. It is only in His glorious presence that we are able to find a joy that defies the limits of human happiness. That is why joy is able to continue even through the biggest trial because, just like Jesus, it is unchanging and never fails.
So let’s not settle for happiness; it will only last a fleeting moment. Let’s cling tight to the joy of the Lord, for it is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10b) It is what will get us through every trial and tribulation because it is in Jesus that we find joy. And it is in joy that we find the strength to say it is well with my soul.