Nov 27, 2019 08:00am
Is it Happiness You’re After? Or is it Joy?

As I stare at my bag of double chocolate donuts, I ponder the question, where does happiness come from? I stuff one into my mouth. They are mini donuts, so just a few won’t hurt. Chocolate is necessary for the thought process, right? 

There are lots of things in this world that bring me happiness: 

my niece and my nephews calling me Cookie and wanting to hang out with me 

the smell of honeysuckle on a summer afternoon down by the creek 

blueberry coffee 

a hike through the woods on a fall day 

little songbirds fluttering and munching on seeds at the birdfeeder 

a sweet love story where the girl and the guy fall madly in love and live happily ever after puppies 

music from Michael Bolton 

planning a trip 

the warmth of my husband’s hand as we do life together.

I could name tons more. Even just thinking about these things brings a smile to my face. 

But all of these things are temporary. 

What happens to my happiness when . . .  

my niece and nephews are older and don’t think I’m cool any more? 

the summer fades and the honeysuckle withers away. 

my acid reflux is out of control and the doctor says no more caffeine and my blueberry coffee sits on the shelf. 

daylight savings time ended and by the time I get home every day it’s 6 o’clock and pitch black and there’s no time to walk through the woods. 

a raccoon showed up one night apparently and destroyed my bird feeder and ate all the seed. 

Must I continue? 

Happiness fluctuates like Arkansas weather. One minute it feels great and the next minute it’s snowing and frost killed my mums! 

People look at Christians and think we are supposed to be the happiest people. They look at our lives, our actions and our words to determine how they too can be happy. But let me tell you a little secret . . .  we aren’t the happiest people on earth. In fact, some days we are downright miserable. 

Yes, it’s true! Christians are unhappy people, too! BUT . . . Do you want me to tell you what you are really searching for? Do you want me to describe to you why you see a Christian who does everything right for the Lord, goes through terrible circumstances, and yet still praises the Lord? 

It’s called Joy. 

“Until you realize Jesus is enough, nothing else will be.” – BJ Thompson

Mr. Thompson hits the nail on the head. Our life is full of searching. Happiness is the goal. If we feel we aren’t reaching the level of happiness we desire, we call the waiter and send it back. We selfishly discard precious people and moments for what we imagine could be better. But until we truly get to the heart of the problem, we will constantly be left empty handed at the end of every road. 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. These words in John 14:6 sum up our quest. Jesus is always the answer. But people wrongly assume that by coming to Jesus, all their worries, fears and troubles will disappear. Jesus never promised us that. 

He actually stated the opposite: 

He told his disciples that if they chose to follow him, they would give up everything and people would despise them, just as they did Jesus, their Master. 

I have two friends with cancer who are in the fight for their lives right now. Both are young, beautiful women. Married and with sweet kiddos, both women have lived good lives. However, one has something that the other doesn’t . . . Jesus. Because of her faith, even through her trials and desperation, she has a hope that my other friend cannot begin to understand. She writes about her struggles with pain and suffering, yet joy is laced throughout her words. She knows without a doubt that she is never alone. Whether she is facing the greatest storm the seas have ever witnessed or the hottest fires flaming about her, she knows that Jesus walks right there beside her. 

I desperately want my other friend with cancer to know the same joy and hope that she has. 

That is the difference, my friends. I beg you not to judge me based on my happiness. But instead, look at something that can never change, never be taken away. Joy remains and it comes only from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

“Joy to the World, the Lord has come!” Let the carol remind you of where our hope comes from. If you see a smile on my face or a sparkle in my eye, ask me about it. I’d love to tell you more about the joy my Lord brings. It’s like getting an invitation to the biggest dinner party. The best chef in town is preparing a delicious meal. Some incredible people will be there and you don’t want to miss it. Jesus is setting the table and has saved you a spot. You will never hunger or thirst again! Will you join Him?

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