Surprised by Joy


Jesus is the only way to true joy. And His desire for you and for me is that His joy would become our own.

I saw some good news on television recently. A newscaster reported on a 29-year old policeman in Los Angeles who pulled over a driver for having an expired license plate, only to discover that the man was his father! The two had been separated shortly after the young man’s birth. His father had remarried, had another family, and had never located his son. Father and son were reunited against almost unbelievable odds, and were glad to find each other. (No ticket was issued—just a warning—and an invitation for dinner.) What a joyful surprise!

We need a lot of things in this world. We need wisdom. We need love. We need insight. We need commitment. But I think more than anything else, our world might just need an overwhelming dose of joy. Mother Teresa was asked once what it took to do the work she did, and she simply smiled and said “A willingness to work hard, and a spirit of joy.” Joy. It is not the same as happiness. It is not “circumstantial goosebumps.” It is not the absence of pain or suffering. It is another domain entirely.

When C. S. Lewis became a Christian, he described the experience as being “surprised by joy.” Lewis, one of the most brilliant apologists who ever lived, did not “think” his way to Christ. He fell into a joy so deep that he recognized it as true. Jesus is the only way to true joy. And His desire, His prayer, for you and me is that His joy would become our own.


These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:11)


Judges 20-21; Proverbs 24

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