I know that I usually write a quote that resounds with me and that I agree with, but this one is the opposite. I heartily disagree with Oswald Chambers when he writes in My Utmost for His Highest,
“What was the joy that Jesus had? Joy should not be confused with happiness. In fact, it is an insult to Jesus Christ to use the word happiness in connection with Him. The joy of Jesus was His absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to His Father […]”
Chambers wrote this while commenting on John 15:11, which includes Jesus’ words, “…that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” The thing is, I’ve heard that old line before about joy and happiness not being the same. And I agree with it; I really do. But I think it is absurd for Chambers to actually sit there and write that it is an insult to use the word happiness in connection with Jesus Christ. Although joy and happiness are not synonyms, they are also definitely not antonyms nor are they mutually exclusive. I think it is tragic to think of Jesus as a somber and morose man, with those weepy eyes that haunt us from religious paintings. I don’t remember all of what I learned from my word studies in Bible college about joy, but I do know that sometimes joy can look like happiness. Happiness can be a fruit growing on the tree of joy, if you will. And when I think about Jesus, I do not think of him going through life with gritted teeth; but instead I see him joyfully and yes, happily, giving his life away to others. Laughing and teasing and singing his way through his short time on this earth; not acting like some robot programmed to surrender and not feel anything at all.