“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. ”
2 Corinthians 8:1-3 NIV
What is joy? Is it the same as happiness? I have found that joy, such as God gives, is first of all incomprehensible. It is like a spring with an inexhaustible source, an invisible source.
Happiness often depends on our circumstances, while joy does not. It is therefore not strange to find people in the most deplorable situations still having incomprehensible joy!
An example from the Bible is Paul and Silas while they were in prison. They were found praying and singing when they had every reason to be in despair.
An example that often astounds me is that of church members in Africa. Most of them live in devastating circumstances! It is said that we (Africans) sing when we’re happy, we sing when we’re sad and we sing any other time in between! They suffer outwardly, but they have this inexplicable joy and generosity! They give whatever they have. Their joy always goes with generosity, singing and dancing.
A fruit of the Holy Spirit
This joy is also a fruit of the Spirit, as we read in Galatians. Remember the joy in your heart when you first came to Christ? The joy of the first love! Such joy can never be generated by our own wills, as attested by the scripture below:
“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
1 Thessalonians 1:6 NIV
Father, thank you for the joy that comes from the Spirit. We live in a corrupt world full of suffering and pain. Carry us as we continue living in this world, and guide us as we wait on your coming to liberate us from this world of sin and death. In Jesus’ name, amen!
By Margaret Musekwa