College days seem so long ago right now they are almost ancient history, however, there is one conversation that still sticks out in my mind regarding joy.
Happy or Joyful?
At dinner one night a friend mentioned that it didn’t seem as if many people he met were joyful. He complained that not many people he passed on the sidewalk were smiling or tried to greet him. He went on to explain that he couldn’t help but feel as if he were “bursting at the seems” with God’s goodness, and he couldn’t understand why others weren’t.
“But,” he said, “there’s a difference between being happy and being joyful. Happy is what you are when a pretty girls accepts your invitation to dinner. Joyful is what you are when you’ve just failed three tests and your girlfriend dumped you, but you still have a smile on your face because you know that your Heavenly Father is in control of all.”
Perhaps you are beyond the college tests and boyfriend stage in your life, but the analogy still fits, doesn't it? Happy is what we are when our day goes as planned. The children are sweet and obedient, no one breaks anything or makes a mess of the house, or gets hurt. Hubby comes home from work smiling and in good humor.
Joyful is when the scenario has reversed. Things didn't go as planned. It was a rotten day, even the pets were out of sorts and hubby comes home tired and discouraged, but “you still have a smile on your face because you know that your Heavenly Father is in control of all.”
I often pray before I give myself to that wonderful luxury of sleep that I’ll wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and a song in my heart, ready to serve my Lord.
Psalm 118:14 says “the Lord is my strength and my song, and is become my salvation.”
Think of this the next time that you don’t feel like smiling, and ask yourself, “Do I feel like this because I’m depending on outside circumstances to keep me happy, or on an inside relationship with Christ to keep me joyful?” and keep smiling!