JOY is one spiritual emotion that many seek. Paul writes about joy in his letter to the church at Philippi.
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you. (Phil 1:3-4).
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice. (Phil 1:18)
My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown (Phil 4:1).
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice (Phil 4:4)
Though there are connections, Christians often confuse joy with happiness. There is a difference. Like its root, happiness often depends on happenstance, on the situation. But joy rests in God. Paul was in prison when he wrote his letter to the Philippians, contemplating his possible execution. Yet the letter was his most joyous.
Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you , and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). He spoke these words as he ate his final meal before his death.
Frederick Buechner writes,
Happiness turns up more or less where you expect it to—a good marriage, a rewarding job, a pleasant vacation. Joy, on the other hand, is as notoriously unpredictable as he one who bequeaths it. (Beyond Words, p. 204).
However, there are times I struggle with Buechner, especially his comments about jogging.
Jogging is supposed to be good for the heart, the lungs, the muscles, and physical well-being generally. It is also said to produce a kindof euphoria known as jogger’s high.
The look of anguish and despair that contorts the faces of most of the people you see huffing and puffing at it, by the side of the road, however, is striking. If you didn’t know directly form them that they are having the time of their lives, the chances are you wouldn’t be likely to guess it. (Beyond Words, p. 191)
I will try to remember to smile more when I run.
Lord Jesus, let my joy be ever you.