Imagine a lake — woods growing close to the shore, rolling hills in the background. The scene is filled with shades of blues and greens in water, earth, and sky. A sailboat skims the surface creating ripples in its wake. Far below, gentle currents flow slightly above the sandy bottom, their source a natural spring feeding life into the lake. Bubbles float upward through shafts of light on this warm, sunny day.
God has made my soul like this lake. He is the Source, the natural spring of my life. Bubbles of joy move through my days rising from deep peace in my spirit to the surface of life on earth. I’m happy. When life is good, everywhere I look is calm, in control. Life is beautiful.
You may scoff. What about when life isn’t good? When your day is filled with a cranky boss, three sick kids, and a non-housebroken puppy? When cancer strikes? When the person you love most in the whole world dies in a car accident?
Allow me to clarify.
Happiness: a sense of contentment, even delicious excitement, when circumstances are good.
Peace: a sense of tranquility with an attitude of contentment.
Joy: contentment and delight in the midst of all circumstances.
Imagine a lake — woods growing close to the shore, rolling hills hidden by clouds. The scene is filled with shades of grays and blacks and browns in water, earth, and sky. A sailboat lurches toward the safety of shore as choppy waves swirl and clash against its hull. Far below, gentle currents flow slightly above the sandy bottom, their source a natural spring feeding life into the lake. Bubbles float upward toward the roiling surface from a winter storm.
What changed? Only the surface. Only circumstances on this earth. When life is stormy and terrifying or merely a drab, nonstop downpour, everywhere I look is frightening and gloomy. I’m not happy. Yet, God is still the Source of life, the natural spring, and bubbles of joy continue to move through my days, rising from deep peace in my spirit. Life is beautiful.