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Joy Meets Suffering

The New Testament is comprised of 27 books (or letters). Paul wrote 13 of them. He uses the word “joy” in eight of his letters. In the letter to the Romans, Paul writes the word “joy” three times over 16 chapters. In the letter to the Philippians, he writes the word “joy” five times in only four chapters.

The aim of this series in the book of Philippians is to help us walk in real joy that isn’t dependent on our circumstances, and there’s probably not a better time of the year for it. Statistics appear to show that this season is difficult for many people. The National Institute of Health reports that November and December have higher than normal rates of depressive episodes in people’s lives. Many mental health organizations report an increase in attempted suicides in November and December.

This is called the season of joy, and the scandal of our secular culture is the idea that we can somehow have meaningful joy without having a meaningful relationship with the God who created and sustains joy. If you will let Philippians do the work it’s meant to do in your soul, you will find that real joy has almost nothing to do with your present circumstances. Real joy is not a thing of this world. It’s found in Christ.

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