Most would identify joy as a human emotion, the superlative of happiness. However, those who belong to Jesus know that the joy found through faith is much more than fleeting emotion and temporary elation. Joy is an attitude produced through faith in Christ and the future promise of a better world to come. Joy is the constant state of the mind of Christ, available to all who trust Jesus as their Savior and the Lord of their life. Joy is stability in an unstable world.
I am joyful but I’m not always happy. I experience the full range of human emotion but those ever-changing mood states can’t diminish my joy. They may distract me from the joy of my faith but joy faithfully, waits for my return always, available to restore my emotional balance and clear my mind. My joy isn’t subject to my emotions because it doesn’t originate from me. My joy is a surety of the promises of God. It is a gift and a foreshadowing of a better world to come; where there will be no pain, sorrow, or suffering. I received this spiritual gift when I first believed in Jesus and it is mine for eternity.
I am a joyful woman but my circumstance in life is less than ideal. I am a joy-bird caged within a failing body that often, isolates me within its special demands. This joy-bird is an old bird living a body of death, longing to fly free. There is no joy in illness and isolation and if this were my end, I would give up and die; but I belong to Jesus and this current suffering is just another passing season. I have endured many such seasons and Jesus has never abandoned me or left me without purpose. My current situation is God’s Will for me and I trust in His purpose with a trust that He has earned. If God doesn’t heal me in this world, I will receive permanent healing in the world to come. When I view my current circumstance through the bright promise of my future, my circumstance doesn’t dictate my attitude. My pain and suffering is absorbed by the joy that constantly sings in the depths of my heart. This is my joy-song, given for me to sing into eternity.
Jesus never promised me health or wealth in this world because in this dying world, what happens to the righteous also, happens to the wicked. There is no justice here. Pain, suffering, and sorrow are the common human condition in a world governed by death. Jesus suffered when He walked the earth and following Him, I suffer too. He is my example, the One who endured suffering and shame and even death on the cross for the prize set before Him, eternal life. By His obedience and endurance in suffering, He won that prize and offers it freely, to all who believe. This precious gift of eternal life is my surety of future hope. I am called to endure suffering in this world also, with my eyes and heart set on Jesus in hope of the promised world to come. That Righteous Kingdom, where all suffering will end, is my hoped for prize! The sure promise that keeps this old, caged-bird singing, Joy!