As I walk thru this valley it is crucial that I remember joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness comes from circumstance and therefore can come and go, wane back and forth. Up one minute, down the next, dependent on my situation, how I am feeling, what thoughts are dominating my day.
Oh, but joy. Joy is untouchable, if it is true joy. In fact, during trial and times of great sorrow, joy and grief can exist simultaneously, affliction and contentment can live side by side. I know, I live it. I need to allow the sadness, not deny the grief, but at the same time I need to let joy in, fight for it! And joy comes from knowing the Lord and believing, trusting His promises. Yes, I can have joy even when happiness is elusive.
So again, it is important that I know the difference between happiness and joy as I walk through this pain. Happiness is fleeting and when it is gone, it can leave us weak, helpless, vulnerable. But the joy of the Lord? The joy of the Lord gives strength. Strength we need daily, moment by moment, for every breath we take, for soul survival. And joy, true joy can prevail, stand strong, can exist even when happiness eludes us. Yes, the joy of the Lord will be my strength through these unhappy times.
Nehemiah 8:10 Do not be grieved, for the joy of The Lord is your strength.