The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

Romans 12:12 tells us, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer."

That scripture has been my mainstay this year. I have had a very rough month. It started with a hospital stay for 4 days, diagnosed with colitis and a blood infection. After that, I was so very relieved it was over. I had never been in the hospital before and I hated it. Little did I know, I would be there again for longer when my appendix burst and I had to have emergency surgery. It was a life and death situation. The problem was, I didn't know that's what had happened and I went 4 days without treatment. By the grace of God, the poison from the appendix had somehow been isolated in a pocket and did not spread throughout my body. A miracle of God, I am certain! It has been a long road to recovery and I am only half way there.

During this time, I lived Romans 12:12. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer." I was joyful in hope that God had spared my life. I was patient in affliction because, somehow, I had peace while I was in the hospital. And boy did I pray! It's been such a painful recovery, as the surgeon made 4 different incisions. One as large as a C-Section!

So how could I have joy in this situation? You see, there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting and often involves the external things in life. Situations, experiences, and things can bring us happiness. But joy is internal and deeply rooted within our beings and our hearts. The Bible speaks of the joy of our salvation. Psalm 94:19 tells us, "When anxiety was great within me, you brought joy to my soul."

I was not happy about the emergency surgery, but I had joy knowing that I could call upon God. I had joy because I knew He had his hand upon me. I had joy because God saved my life! Another important note is that joy is directly connected to gratitude. I am grateful for my family. They bring me huge joy. My daughter Amanda, is a huge encourager to me. She is always there with words of wisdom and love.

What is the number one way to have this permanent joy? To walk in fellowship with God. When you eliminate sinful things in your life, you can walk in fellowship with God. Through Bible study, worship, and prayer, we become closer to God, regardless of outward situations. When you have gratitude, you have joy. When you depend on God for all things, you have joy. And that joy translates to supernatural peace. Peace that is a gift from God.

God must still have things for me to do. I believe that is why He got me through this situation. May I walk worthy of the call on my life and grateful for JOY that comes directly from God to our spirit.

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