It is not easy for me to write about joy.

Joy does not feel like my natural territory. In A.A. Milne’s Winnie The Pooh, I have always tended more toward Eeyore than Tigger. I do not think bouncy, optimistic, and bubbly would be the most likely adjectives used to describe my character.

But perhaps Tigger is not the best image for joy. Perhaps to use Tigger as a picture of joy is to confuse two things that, while they may at times look alike, in fact are not the same.

Joy is not happy.

Happy is circumstantial. Happy is bouncy when things are going well, but can switch to Eyore when times are difficult and trying. Happy comes and goes. Happy is fickle and uncertain.

The New Testament has an un-Tigger vision of joy. The writer of the Letter of James urges his audience to , “whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy” (James 1:2).

A joy that can consider “trials of any kind” “nothing but joy” is not dependent upon how things are going. It does not exist only when things are going well and life is unfolding smoothly.

The ability to “consider it nothing but joy” when life is difficult requires a quality that is not bound to or defined by circumstance.

How do I understand the distinction between happy and joy?