So what is the difference between happiness and joy?
the quality or state of being happy.
the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
This doesn’t really tell us much, does it?
Well, happiness is fleeting. We can be happy when we’re at the store and we find a shirt that fits just right, but that happiness often disappears when we see the price tag. We can be happy when someone gives us a gift, but when that gift breaks, when it no longer fits, we’re unhappy. When we meet a new friend, we’re happy. But that fades away after a while. You don’t stay eternally happy and smiley.
Joy, on the other hand, can last. Joy is something you can have in your heart that is beyond compare or comprehension. When a loved one dies in the Lord, we are sad and we grieve, but at the same time we have joy in the knowledge that they’re in Heaven with Jesus and we’ll see them again one day. When a friend moves to another country, we miss them, but we have joy because we got the chance to be with them, even if for a shorter while than we would like.
Joy is hard to feel sometimes. Hard to have. Because when all these bad things happen, when you don’t know how anything’s ever going to work out right again, and you can’t see the sun, everything looks hopeless. You don’t know what you can have joy in. But there is always something.
Joy in the knowledge that Jesus loves you.
Joy in the fact that you’re on your way to Heaven.
Joy in the fact that God is always with you.
Joy in the Lord’s promises.
Joy in the fact that God does nothing without a purpose. Your life has meaning.
I know it’s hard to remember these things, and even harder to find joy in them sometimes, but if you have Jesus, you can have true joy that lasts, persists, endures forever, even during the darkest times.