Jesus was the happiest person on earth (Hebrews 1:9). He certainly wasn’t boring, and He attracted multitudes of people (even the worst of sinners) to Himself. They wanted to get close to Him and hear what He had to say (Luke 15:1). Children loved Jesus and He loved children (Matthew 19:14). Children are generally a great judge of character and aren’t usually drawn to mean and grumpy adults; Jesus must have had a great character and personality. Christians should be like this, too. We should be the happiest people on the face of the earth, and people should be drawn to us because of it.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Isaiah 53:3 KJV
Isaiah 53:3 KJV
This is not a contradiction. What this shows us is that while Jesus was the happiest person on earth, He still had the capacity to grieve. It’s not wrong to grieve, but we need to grieve at the right things. This verse shows us that while Jesus was the happiest person on earth, He still grieved when He saw injustice and pain. I believe that Jesus is sad when we are sad – I believe that could be the reason that He cried when Lazarus died. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, and so He wasn’t crying because His friend was dead – rather He was grieving for Lazarus’ sisters. Jesus has compassion for us, and sympathizes with our pain and weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). God is certainly an optimist, and with all the pain and heartache in the world I am sure that He chooses to focus on the positive rather than all the negative. He doesn’t ignore your pain and suffering – no! He has provided a solution for your situation through Jesus. He doesn’t ignore the pain and suffering, but I believe He chooses to rather focus on the hope that there is in the world because of Jesus and because His representatives (the church) are here to make a difference. He’s focused on your potential and the good plans that He has for you. I believe God is watching us with excitement and hope-filled expectation of good things to happen in and through our lives. I believe He’s eagerly waiting for us to give Him opportunities to invite Him to work in our lives and do amazing things. God isn’t ignoring the plight of the world, I believe He’s just more focused on the hope that there is. We should be like that, too. We should not be marked by sorrow and grief, but rather by joy and hope-filled expectation of good things to come. We should be the happiest people on earth, and yet the most compassionate and caring as well. When we see pain and suffering we should be moved with compassion (like Jesus) to help people, just like Jesus did.
“…this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 KJV
Nehemiah 8:10 KJV
We shouldn’t be sorry (sad) because the joy of the Lord is our strength! There is strength in joy, but when we are not in the joy of the Lord we are weak. We may not have reasons to be full of joy – circumstances may be really bleak. But there is always a reason to have joy because of God – because of who He is and what He has done for us. When we focus on Him and what He has done for us – that we’re completely forgiven, unconditionally loved and abundantly blessed – then we will start to experience the joy of the Lord and that will result in us having strength.
If the apostle Paul can write his most joyful letter from prison (Philippians) and encourage the people on the outside to “rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) then it’s possible for us to rejoice no matter what our circumstances are. True joy and happiness isn’t found in the absence of problems, or in circumstances. We find it in the Lord and what He has done for us.