“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” – Mark Twain
I’d be lying if I said that joy and I are good friends. Honestly, I have invested far too much time into my relationship with fear that joy seems like a long-lost friend. Yet, each day I’m finding new joys that I can’t fully explain. Not even that, but I married a girl whose middle name is “Joy”. Score! I guess joy has been closer than I even realized.
Joy scares us. Happiness is much easier than joy. Not everyone is always happy like Pharrell.
Happiness can be found in self-indulgence, entertainment, buying “stuff”, lust, pride, and the list goes on. Joy? To live with a heart of joy, we must learn to be sacrificial, to love unconditionally, to be content, to look for the beauty in the mundane, and to accept that we’re loved by God. That’s hard. Joy isn’t easy, but it is so, so much better than temporary happiness.
The Mark Twain quote above isn’t just about having friends, family, or a romantic relationship. I have often found the greatest joy when serving those who could never return the favor. Joy has found me in the moments where God and I share an intimate moment, even in the midst of utter loneliness (humanly speaking). Talking with someone who is struggling and offering them encouragement gives me much more joy than anything I could buy.
The Scriptures address the matter of joy in many different settings, but let’s examine just a few:
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
Raise your hand if you can identify with that one…My hand is raised. In fact, both hands are flailing in the air. My spirit has been crushed on far too many occasions – a result of living in a fallen world. Yet, I can also speak to the beauty and power of joy. When it has touched my soul, there are no words to even express the experience.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12
Hope is a word too often abused, losing its power in the process. In actuality, the beauty of hope is that it brings the heart joy, knowing that our brokenness is not the end of our journey. When we choose to hope for better things, we can taste joy on our lips, knowing that beauty is all around us, even in the future.
Joy reminds our souls that we long for a God who is greater than our hearts.
Joy reminds us that we’re more than just flesh and bone.
Joy calls us to hope for better days to come.