Is it okay to want joy?

The quick answer? YES. We all want to be happy and to enjoy life! And the Bible tells us that this is a good thing. God promises his people joy: it is part of the Holy Spirit’s fruit in a believer’s life (Galatians 5:22) and Jesus promises his disciples multiple times that they will have complete joy (John 15-17).

Of course, Jesus and his apostles experienced great suffering and persecution, and they promise that believers will have the same experiences today. But we are also promised that these sufferings bless us and that “great is [our] reward in heaven” when we are persecuted because of Jesus (Matthew 5). Will we suffer? Yes. But we can still have joy, and we’ll probably want it all the more in the midst of suffering.

We can “rejoice and be glad” even in the middle of suffering because of the incredible nature of being Christ followers and the relationship that it gives us with God Himself!

  • We have a deep and eternal relationship with God as his beloved children (1 John 3:1-2)
  • The Holy Spirit is living in us, declaring us to be God’s children, and helping us in our weaknesses (Romans 8)
  • This life is only temporary and we get to spend eternity with God in heaven (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
  • God hears our prayers, guards our hearts and minds, and gives peace that transcends human understanding (Philippians 4:4-7)

If you are suffering today, you are not alone. You may love Him, hate Him, or ignore Him, but God is here, and He does not want anyone to suffer alone or in silence. The Church is Jesus’ body and is here to love, support, and encourage. It’s not about a church building, it’s about the Church: people who love Jesus and through Him, love their neighbors. If you are suffering today, reach out for support. Find a church. Talk to a pastor. Pray with people who love the Lord. Read God’s living and active Word in Scripture.

You probably won’t feel instantly better, but God will not ignore you, and you will find Christians who love you in the name of Jesus Christ. We at iHope are also here as a support, with care and counseling sessions that are grounded in biblical principles.

May we close with a prayer? Paul shared the following prayer for his church family in Ephesus, and we pray this together today from Ephesians 1:

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.