There is laughter and then there is joy. Some people wonder what is the difference because in a worldly sense, we use such words interchangeably. I guess, for me, the difference is a huge one.
When I used to suffer from depression, there were many times when I would experience a high and then crash into a low. Whenever I was laughing, I would feel trepidation about the tears that would follow later on. It was a very sad state of affairs, a roller coaster of emotions- up, down, loop the loop. I would listen to upbeat music to keep my mood up, but the moment there was silence, the fears and anxieties would start hunting me down. I would feed on my emotions to write and then I ended up feeding those emotions because of what I wrote. I even told my then boyfriend (now hubby) that I could only write well when I was down. I was so deceived.
I was a Christian even then but my walk was on shaky ground because I had been feeding on law. Law tells me I am not doing enough, I need to do right to get right. I never felt vindicated or that my salvation was assured. I always felt like I could lose it. It did not help that someone close used to magnify all my sins to me, as if I did not already feel condemned by them, and told me that someone I loved a lot died because I was such a sinner. I believed that Jesus loves me but I had trouble believing that I could be blessed by Him because I was unworthy. So I could not receive. I could not open my hands to take although He opened His arms to hold me close to Him.
Things only started turning around when I started sitting under the right teaching that helped me understand it is not about what I do, but what has already been done on the Cross. The salvation of Christ is a complete and finished one- it was not a half baked, maybe yes- maybe no sort of salvation. Suddenly that confidence of knowing how much I am loved by Him, how His blessings and calling for me are IRREVOCABLE brought me from a place of darkness into a place of illumination.
At first, I felt strange to express joy. I had been so used to being so sad. I strangely felt that sadness was humility and to say HALLELUJAH with confidence was being boastful and proud. I used to look at people saying AMEN and HALLELUJAH loudly in church with a little disdain. I felt they were showing off their faith. Now I know that it is an outpouring of joy and often a declaration that HE IS FAITHFUL.
The joy of the LORD began to fill me up and it is nothing like what the world can give you. The joy of the LORD is not just a smile, a laugh, a chuckle after a good joke. It is sustenance. It is an confidence that He has done it all so that you can rest, it is confidence that you are home at last and that nothing can tear you away from His unconditional love. It is knowing how much you are loved and how much He paid for you. It is knowing that even though the journey is rocky, that it is going to be okay because He has made it so. Just like the kid’s song, “With Christ in the vessel, you can smile at the storm”. Joy is not determined by the current situation. It is not flakey. The sole thing the joy of the LORD is founded on is Jesus and He is not wishy washy, He is consistent, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
I like to laugh. I like to be happy. But above that, I am thankful that I get to be joyful knowing that He who is IN ME, is GREATER than he who is of this world & that if Christ is for me, who can be against me?? =)