Do you know people who are living a life full of constant challenges, difficult family relationships, loss of loved ones, health issues and/or financial struggles, yet are full of joy? How could this be? So, I ask myself if there could be a difference between “joy” and “happiness”. It appears to me that their challenges have no effect on their underlying demeanor of “joy”, even though they are not what you would call “happy” with their situation. They would not choose to be in any of the above circumstances. However, they seem to accept whatever is going on in their lives and choose to make the best of it. I know a woman who lost her husband and made the decision to never be happy or joyful again, preferring to dwell on her loss. I know another woman who was sad to lose her husband, but was grateful that he didn’t have to suffer a long illness and believed he would not want her to be miserable, so made the decision to not dwell on her loss.
So, I ask myself if there could be a difference between joy and happiness?
The definition of joy in my bible says, “the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune: gladness or delight”.
If a person does not have success or good fortune, but still feels gladness or delight (joy), it must come from the sense of wellbeing. Where does that come from? What gives a person the ability to accept their difficult circumstances, believe things will get better, do the best they can and continue to be joyful?
When our daughter suffered a brain aneurysm rupture in Pennsylvania a few years ago, we were devastated. However, we knew many, many people were praying for her and for us. It was December and the roads between Kearney, MO and Pittsburgh, PA were ice and snow packed. The roads we traveled to get there were miraculously cleared, so we were able to get to her safely. Her husband and the best hospital, doctors and medical staff were there for her. Although she was on life support for 13 days and we didn’t know what the outcome would be, we had much to be joyful about. This joy can only come as a response to God’s love in our lives and is beyond our understanding. Praise God, she fully recovered.!