Joni and Friends
I’m Joy-Happy

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”

Psalm 68:3

We’re often taught to be careful of the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness, it is said, is an emotion that depends upon what “happens.” Joy, by contrast, is supposed to be enduring, stemming from deep within our soul and not affected by the circumstances surrounding us.

It’s an appropriate linguistic distinction, I suppose. But I don’t think God had any such hairsplitting in mind. Scripture uses the terms interchangeably, along with words like delight, gladness, blessed. There is no scale of relative spiritual values applied to any of these. Happiness is not relegated to flesh-minded sinners nor joy to heaven-bound saints.

The terms are synonymous in their effect and too difficult to distinguish when we experience either one. Would you, for example, respond to the wedding of your daughter with joy or with happiness? Are you happy that your friend came to know Christ, or are you joyful? Is the moment of euphoric delight in worship of him on Sunday morning just a happenstance or just as much a part of Jesus’ promise regarding our redeemed souls?

To rob joy of its elated twin, happiness, is to deprive our soul of God’s feast. Seek both as part and parcel in all circumstances. When your soul is stirred by a deep contentment, be happy. When a delightful moment strikes that is quite outside yourself, be joyful. Don’t think about which one you are supposed to feel. Accept them both as a gift from a God who is rich in all such emotions.

Lord, I seek the blessing of a joyful heart, the gladness of a happy countenance, and the delight of your eternal pleasure today.

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

For More Inspiration…

“With the Lord, my wheelchair became my microphone.” Read Babia’s inspiring story on the blog!

Children with disabilities in poverty-stricken regions of the world aren’t thinking about what kind of Christmas gift might be under their tree this year. They’re wondering if they will survive to see another Christmas… or another day. Read Now

Send the joy of Jesus this Christmas with one of Joni’s Christmas Cards! Shop Now

Visit Our Website

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.