Happiness, is this magical thing that we think will happen when life goes the way we want it to, but think about it. How many times have you heard someone utter the phrase, “All I want is to be happy?” Yet, how many people do you know who actually are? Few, if any. The reason for this is that the “happiness” so many of us search for, is not something that will bring us peace.
See, when you boil it down, happiness is a form of contentment that is the result of things working out in our favor. The problem is, when happiness is based upon things that are ultimately outside of our control. Though we may be “happy” during certain parts of our lives. Happiness can’t be trusted. Why? Because circumstance cannot be trusted. As soon as we think life has finally gone our way, a close friend gets into a car accident, or a relative develops cancer. Then what? The happy state of being we fought so hard for leaves us again, and we realize we are once again not happy. It’s like having a fun, but ultimately fickle friend. You know the type: You share inside jokes. You party together. You create memories. But when life gets real and you need someone to get in the mud with you, they are nowhere to be found. And here is the final truth about happiness: The more we make it our goal, the less likely we are to find it.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Joy, however, is something entirely different than happiness, even though the two terms are often used as the same. Joy is a state of the soul that has nothing to do with circumstance. It is based on the knowledge of a God that does not change. Because He never leaves us hanging, we can count on Him. He never bails on a meet-up, never forgets to return a call, and never bats an eye at getting into the muck and mire with us. He will be there when we need someone to shed a tear with, and he will be there when life works out in our favor as well. That is His character.
This simple knowledge, actually produces joy, which is a reaction to unchanging truth. Joy defeats the sorrow we are promised to face in this life, no matter how dark and insurmountable those moments may seem to be. It is the reminder that although we will wake up one day soon with wrinkles beyond imagining, aching joints and poor eyesight, there is something beyond this life. It is a reminder that although death may creep at the bedroom door, I know that my Jesus died for our sins and that I'll go to a place that far surpasses this one. Therefore, joy is something that is possible to have in every season of life and is greater than even our most pleasant days, even our most perfect circumstances.
Happiness is Circumstantial. Joy is transcendent, supernatural, and therefore, far better.
Search for happiness and you will not find it. Search for God and you will find joy, a fruit far more satisfying than the temporary “happiness” that so many are fighting fruitlessly to find.