Happiness may hop, but joy can jump. Do you know the difference? Before explaining the emotions, let’s describe the exercise. Hops are short, like a little leap or a small skip. But jumps are long and strong enough to spring into the air and hurdle over obstacles. Hops are usually one-legged while jumps require the strength of both feet and legs. Hopping and jumping are as different as a bouncing bunny and a bounding Olympic athlete.
Just as a jump can take you further and higher than a hop, joy is more powerful than happiness. Both words describe pleasant feelings, but their origin is very different. Happiness depends on what happens. For instance, if you get the latest video game, you’re happy. But if you don’t win that new game, you’re mad.
However, joy comes from Jesus. The psalmist said, “In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Ps. 16:11). One comes from stuff, the other from the Savior.
Happiness is temporary, but joy is eternal. Isaiah described it as “everlasting joy” (Is. 51:11). That’s because happiness lives for the now, lasting about as long as it takes to eat a candy bar. But joy sees into the future, making present pain turn into our gain. King David understood how joy transcended circumstances. One of his sons died at birth. But David knew he’d see his child again in heaven. So he could say, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). You might say that joy takes a licking but keeps on ticking.
Why don’t you jump into joy? Rejoice knowing that…
Isn’t that better than happiness? Jesus will take you higher, faster, and further than you could ever go it alone. You can “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4).