Sometimes I wonder if our joy is often manufactured. Searching for truth, meaning, prosperity in the name of Christ, but finding none of it. Wading through the shallow waters of societal norms, wondering why there is a callous indifference towards real change towards seeking joy.

We equate joy with pleasure – a temporal construct which does not last. Then we enter into doldrums and depressive states, wondering what happened to that joy you once had when you first encountered Christ. It is written to consider it pure joy when you encounter trials in the book of James, but do we really fathom what it means? Many of us are going through harsh trials… we ourselves are bearing burdens of sorrow and grief, wondering where you’re supposed to find joy.

Unexpected circumstances beyond your control make you question it all… where is God’s purpose in all this? The trite clich├ęs are to “trust God” or to “leave it in God’s hands”. Some of us look like we get it… we post happiness on social media, we shake our fists defiantly at tribulation, we proclaim that we need rest from the busyness of life.

Yet it starts all over again.

Up and down like a roller coaster. Not just that, but we’re stuck on this device designed to instil fear and thrills, drastic pleasure and heart-stopping, stomach churning dizziness. Looping over and over, wondering when it’s going to stop. And when we jump off, we either proclaim we’re never doing that again… until we’re onto the next ride. Never satisfied, always seeking the moment that never actually comes. Where is the joy in that?

As we seek the realness of God in our lives, real genuine joy, let’s cast aside our preconceptions and stop trying to figure it out. It could take a moment or a lifetime. Ask God to show us… it’s not automatic when we accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. Happiness is never promised… but persecution is, in the name of Christ. And we are count it as pure joy. Don’t just go through the motions of what “Christian living” is supposed to be about, and fake your way around your fellow believers, hoping for a moment (or worse, giving the impression that you’ve got it figured out). Pray fervently, be vulnerable, be accountable to trustworthy fellow believers (or maybe it means being alone with God and letting everything go).

Ask God to show you what true joy means and stop faking it.