Dabo Swinney gets it. It was easy to be happy in that moment, having blown out the number 1 team in the country. But he wasn't just happy, he had joy.
Joy is not happiness. God doesn’t tell us to dance our happy dance in the middle of hardship. He tells us to endure patiently with joy.
Paul said in Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Is that even possible? To answer that, we need to know what joy really is. Joy is not happiness. Joy isn’t walking around with a silly grin. Joy doesn’t mean living in denial when your world is crashing down around you.
Joy is deeper. It is an awareness that you are not alone, that even when everything seems against you, it isn’t the world against only you. It is Jesus taking on your world.
Paul said it best in Romans 8:35-39: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That is joy. Joy is experiencing, deep in your soul, the absolute fact that Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. He knows what it is like to be all alone. When the Father turned His back to Jesus on the cross, Jesus experienced the hell of being separated from His father. He has promised that we will never face what He did. We will never be alone again.
Joy is living in the knowledge of the presence of God. Even when you can’t see Him, or feel Him in your circumstances, joy is knowing that He is there. He is always there.
Joy is something that God gives. It can’t be manufactured by you. It comes with the presence of God. Joy is a promise for those who believe in Jesus, and who trust Him with their lives. Do you have joy?