Joy may come before all things of practical need. For those who intend to be happy—and who doesn’t?—there is the need of access to joy. True happiness does not come without joy.
But, what is this thing called Joy?
Joy is a decision to consider well the good over the bad; to survey the vast wonders inherent to life rather than the drudgery; to seek an understanding of the awesome perspective of our innate privilege to be alive, not to dwell on our suffering and difficulties.
Joy is about opportunities and challenges, not threats and contempt for life.
The Coherence of Joy In Struggle
Life is a struggle, and yet there are many individual struggles that punctuate our lives. Without joy our struggles prove overwhelming. With joy we can struggle well and endure every struggle.
It tends to be the missing ingredient, joy, in a life of struggle. But joy was always meant to coexist in the presence of struggle, for only with joy in our struggles can we endure them humbly, and learn to trust God in the midst of the struggle.
The more we struggle, the more access to joy we need. This sense of divine bliss can only come via the surrender before God of our flesh desire to want comfort of worldly means. Instead, in striving for the presence of God we redeem joy. Knowing God is available, knowing God is there, knowing God provides for us, and knowing God is for us and never against us; these truths empower us to experience the simplicity of joy.
As we possess this most vital of character traits we come before life poised to endure it resiliently. As soon as we have agreed to live joyfully we don’t settle for anything but. This means we meet our struggles by searching for the joy within them. We never believe that joy is absent. We know God is ever present. We know that with God is joy.
Because God is a loving God, totally faithful to his Word, he has given us joy commensurate to our struggle, so that we may endure our struggles in his name. These two, therefore, coexist together harmoniously.
There is only one way to endure struggle—to ‘struggle well’. We must do so joyfully.
Joy gives rise to faith, and both reveal hope. Joy is a decision and a perspective. When we have joy, we have the golden elixir for the abundant life. Joy empowers us, and is the reason, to gather all other virtue. This is why it’s a most important possession.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.