March 8

Written by Bill Grandi on March 8th, 2023

Perhaps you have heard the story of the distraught, sad man who went looking for help. He found a local pastor who was willing to sit down and listen. His sadness and pain was obvious as he unloaded his sadness. The pastor just listened. After some time he realized this man needed a good dose of laughter. So he told the man, “You need to laugh and relax. I hear there is a well-known comedian in town who is really great at making people laugh. I suggest you go hear him.”

After a moment of silence, the man said, “I am that comedian.”

I’ve heard that story several ways, I suspect you may have. Comedian. Clown. Entertainer. Any way you shake it, it says the same thing.

But here is a greater truth: Happiness does not equal joy. They are two separate entities, totally devoid of each other in reality. Happiness is dependent on circumstances; joy is in spite of your circumstances. If things are going well-financially, socially, family, job-happiness abounds. But have a glitch in one of them and happiness is like a bird let out of a cage.

Joy? It’s different. All chaos can be breaking out around us. Loss of job. Financial downturn. Wayward child. Fickle friends. But at the core is joy. It’s not because you are happy those things are happening to you. Joy comes-and is determined by-what is at the core of your being. Perhaps a better word is not what but WHOM. The person who follows Christ may not like what is happening; may struggle with pain to nth degree; but that person knows WHO controls it all. That brings joy in spite of the circumstances, amidst the pain.  That is why James can write: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” (1:2) (ESV)

Seek joy not happiness. Happiness is fleeting; joy is permanent.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    True joy can only come from God. As you state, happiness is based on circumstance… It is a skin deep emotion.
    Happiness is like taking BBQ sauce and slapping it on a a platter of ribs that may be to dry, overcooked, or unseasoned. Joy is like those slow smoked ribs that have been seasoned well and quite frankly don’t need the sauce. The flavor permeates the entire rack leaving each bite with you wanting more.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You’re making me hungry for ribs Ryan! 🙂 I have to say it is a great analogy though.

  2. gail says:

    To be able to count everything as joyful regardless of the circumstances we are in or we are facing. That is when we can truly say that the Lord is first in our hearts, and that we seek the Lord above all else. I pray that we can all find our contentment in Jesus alone, I keep striving for that goal. Hallelujah, when that day comes.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      That is a daily goal Gail. Finding contentment sounds like it ought to be something easy to reach but it is often so far out of reach. May we all learn that joy and peace that passes understanding.

  3. Amen, Bill! I choose joy in all things.