Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain! – Habakkuk 3:17-19
Happiness is an emotion so many strive for each day. People do things that make them happy. They try to surround themselves with people who make them happy, eat things that make them happy, listen to music that makes them happy and read books that make them happy. Yet life isn’t always happy. In fact there are times in life that are downright unhappy!
For the writer of the book of Habakkuk he looked out of his window and saw conditions that were far from happy. Recession had hit, wealth had gone and the harvest had failed. For the person who filled their life trying to find happiness, this sight who have thrown their world upside down. However, for the writer of Habakkuk this was not the case. You see this man had something called joy!
Joy is not happiness! Don’t ever confuse the two. Happiness is an emotion, a condition, a feeling! Happiness comes and goes. Happiness goes out the back door when sadness knocks on the front door. So for the one who fills their life striving for happiness, the arrival of sadness brings death to their pursuit. However, joy is not an emotion, nor is it a condition, it is a permanent fixture in one’s life. It is the very fruit of a life that seeks God not self. This fruit does not fall when storms arrive, it does not rot when conditions change and it does not flee when your world comes crashing down!
The reason for this is that joy comes from the Lord, the eternal, sovereign, awesome Lord. What the Lord gives no-one can snatch away and when God gives joy the conditions of the world around you can have no impact on the fruit that is produced through a life that seeks God.
Are you a happiness seeker or a joy producer? One leads to real contentment, the other to many days of emotional heartbreak! Seek God and allow the fruit of joy to be produced!