When one has walked the path of pain and uncertainty over the future, your writing takes a new depth. Lauren's husband, Pastor Matt Chandler, was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. With a family of three small children, her world took an unexpected turn and the future was clouded with the unknown of tomorrow. She walked through this crisis an even stronger believer. One of the short-comings of the plethora of young Christian women writers is their inexperience in the great trials of life. Lauren has a deep maturity which shines through in her writing after living one of the greatest trials a young mother, wife, and woman could face. Her teaching is a reflection of her strong assurance of God's presence--even in the worst of times.
This final week of the study speaks of the difference in joy and happiness. I did some outside reading on the subject and was intrigued with John's Piper's explanation of "Christian Joy". There is certainly a difference in the joy we experience in the secular world and the joy we experience through Christ.
Happiness--well happiness is certainly a secular emotion. I am happy when I am with my family; I am happy when I play with my grands; I am happy when I spend time with my friends; I am happy when I travel with my adventure buddies. All of this is fine and well--but it also all revolves around "I". Happiness is fleeting--here today and gone tomorrow. My problem with having a "bucket list"--is the list all revolves around what "I" want to do and see. Getting my happy on--is certainly rewarding--but the reward is short term-NOT eternal..
Joy---"Christian Joy is a fruit of the spirit and thus not dependent upon certain conditions." Joy is a "Soul emotion" according to Piper. We experience the joy of hope through Christ as Believers. So even when life throws a hard ball, we know " In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
"Rejoicing and faith go hand in hand. If we are to rejoice always, it is imperative to believe that there is more than what we can see, taste, smell, hear, and feel. There simply has to me more. Praise God, there is." (Lauren Chandler)
So, "Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him." Job 13:15 is a perfect example of the joy which only comes from Him. Joy has really nothing to do with us--and everything to do with Him. HE IS OUR JOY! There WILL be trials in life--but yet there still is joy. The joy which comes from the sure knowledge of there is more.
So I leave you with this--given the choice of happiness or joy--happiness if fleeting, but joy--joy is eternal.
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.