Monday, August 15, 2011
What is Joy?
Joy, joy is not simply happiness, nor is it simply excitement. For in joy there is sadness and there is brokenness, happiness and sorrow. Joy is an idea held within the heart transcending all aspects of life, from the devastating to the amazing. Happiness is fleeting and sadness will not last, but joy goes right through the heart of both of these.
Joy has been a recent theme in my life. Not simply in my personal study but in the teachings of the church as well as the discussions with my friends. Joy, it seems, is such an elusive thing.
We’re always wondering how it came to us when we have it and where it went when we don’t. But I don’t think that’s a proper understanding of what joy really is.
Joy, it would seem, is a constant. Once it is had, it will never go. “But what about when I feel no joy?” you might ask. Joy is no feeling, it’s an idea held in your heart -- not your brain. We feel excitement and happiness but much like love joy is not a simple emotion.
It is quite complex really. For though I love The Anchor I do not love it the same way I love my nephew. And though I love my nephew I do not pray for him the same way I pray for my future children. So it is with joy.
But with joy we have lower words to describe those base feelings of happiness and excitement, it is not so with love (I love Oreos and I love God – same word completely different meanings).
This is joy: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you… So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
This is joy." (2 Cor 4:7-12,16-17)