Joy Has A Reason
by Joel Singleton
Digital & Church Partnerships Coordinator
Jesus faced the kinds of circumstances that – for us – would remove joy as a possibility from our experience entirely. But Jesus knew better. Jesus knew that joy had a reason.
Rejoicing in Trials
In Romans 5:3-4, we are encouraged to rejoice in our trials.
It likely sounds quite ludicrous for those of us who are going through great testing. And it probably would be ludicrous if that joy had no reason. To choose joy amid difficult circumstances without a reason, I would suggest, is pretty much impossible.
However, with a reason, I think it is possible. And surely the greater the reason for that joy means a greater strength to carry joy in the most testing of circumstances. So, the question is, is there a significant enough reason that would enable us to rejoice in the most difficult trials?
I believe there is, and it’s discovered in the life of Jesus Christ. However, before we see that joy has a reason, it’s important to state what joy is. Joy is more than the dictionary definition of “great pleasure and happiness.”
It originates from God.
It has much greater depth than this definition. It’s not an elated feeling; it’s a deep contentment of the soul. It’s not a reaction to a circumstance but a persistent character trait. It’s not a fleeting emotion but a steadfast hope. Its true meaning is discovered in the Bible and witnessed through the life of Jesus. Joy is a choice, and joy has a reason.
It has much greater depth than this definition. It’s not an elated feeling; it’s a deep contentment of the soul. It’s not a reaction to a circumstance but a persistent character trait.
The Greatest Trial
The trial of Jesus was to give up His glory in Heaven, be born as a human being, love with the purest of loves but be hated with utter contempt.
His trial was to be rejected by his enemies, friends, and family. His trial was to be insulted, spat on, slapped, shamed, and mocked. It was to have a crown of thorns pressed into His head, to be whipped within an inch of his life and forced to carry His cross up a hill. It was then to be crucified upon that cross, take the weight of the world’s sin upon His shoulders, and have His Father give Him up to suffer. Yet, Jesus chose joy.
“For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” – Hebrews 12:2.
What possible reason did He have for His joy in the midst of these trials? Was it not to see salvation come to humanity and take His place in the presence of the Father. Suffering was a means through which true, unhindered, pure relationship with God was made possible.
For us, our great reason to carry joy through trials comes from knowing we will spend eternity with our Maker. It doesn’t make suffering easy, but it makes choosing joy in our suffering a possibility.
Joy doesn’t disregard sadness, grief, and pain. But it does know that death has been defeated. Joy knows that God turns evil for good. Joy knows that suffering is a means to partake in the union with Jesus Christ, and it has no power except to transform the believer into the image of God.
Joy knows that the enemy has been disarmed, and whilst suffering is a reality for every human, our end is eternal glory with our Creator. When that is our reason to be joyful, suffering cannot stop our decision to choose joy.