Happiness is rooted in circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is rooted in biblical truth – regardless of our circumstances.
This is precisely why, incarcerated for his faith, Paul, while still languishing in prison, could write, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!“
Make no mistake: the type of joy Paul writes of here is not a paper-thin, over-the-top, emotional celebration.
Biblical joy runs deep. Deeper than our most acute pain.
Germany. Christmas, 1942…
During the Christmas season of 1942, the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote the statement below while under severe persecution for his Christian faith. Two and a half years after this quote was penned, Bonhoeffer was executed by Hitler’s Secret Service. He was 39:
“The joy of God goes through the poverty of the manger and the agony of the cross; that is why it is invincible, irrefutable. It does not deny the anguish, when it is there, but finds God in the midst of it, in fact precisely there; it does not deny grave sin but finds forgiveness precisely in this way; it looks death straight in the eye but finds life precisely within it.” Dietrich Bonheoffer (Christmas, 1942)
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick