What Kind of Joy is This?

September 16, 2011 | 23 comments

It cometh in the morning.

C.S. Lewis was surprised by it.

On deathbeds, people choose it.

Those who sow in tears now will reap it later.

It is our strength; it is our song.

It is the thing that, by some miracle dumped straight from Heaven, our grief can turn into. (John 16:20)

It is this: Joy. 

Where can we find this joy that flows even in the midst of sorrow? Where can we find this joy, which is deeper than a smile, deeper even than our feelings? 

What kind of joy is this? It is Jesus Joy — trademarked, copyrighted, and available worldwide.

It is costly, but free.  

Jesus of Nazareth, who willingly tasted death for every man, took up an executioner’s cross for the joy — the joy! — set before Him. 

This is the miraculous character of Christ in you. It is not a fleeting moment of happiness, but rather, it is inner joy that springs from one source only: Jesus.

What kind of joy is this? This is the joy of a soul, forgiven and free.

Stephen Curtis Chapman sings of it:

“What kind of joy is this
That counts it a blessing to suffer
What kind of joy is this
That gives the prisoner his song
What kind of joy could stare death in the face
And see it as sweet victory
This is the joy of a soul that’s forgiven and free”


May you find happiness all around you this weekend, dear friend.
May you even find a reason to smile. But even more than that: 
may you discover inexplicable joy within you.

Linking up again with The Gypsy Mama’s Five-Minute Friday group-writing project — where we are encouraged to write for five minutes straight without backtracking, rethinking, editing. Today’s writing prompt: JOY.



by | September 16, 2011 | 23 comments


  1. Cindy

    Joy! So many people pursue it in the wrong way. But, yes, Jesus is the one and only way to true joy. You nailed it, Jennifer. 🙂

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Cindy. I’ve been guilty of pursuing it the wrong way. Somehow, culture has convinced us that joy has more to do with the externals. This morning, I did a lot of Bible reading on joy, and I just kept coming back to Jesus, who “for the JOY set before Him” endured the cross.

      I am in awe of that kind of profound joy. It makes no sense, outside of Christ.

  2. Julie

    Joy….pure Joy.

    “It is costly….but its free”.

    Well said, my friend.

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Julie. You are a Joy Girl. You’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in Your Heart. Where? Down in your Heart. Where? Down in your Heart.


  3. r.ellott

    great post…what kind of joy…a soul forgiven and free…amen.


  4. Tay

    Here’s my 5mf for this week:

    Yesterday when I found out Sara (gitzengirl.blogspot.com) was dying, my heart ached. I can’t remember the last time my heart ached like that. I was one of the many people that was touched by Sara’s writing.

    This is the first time in a long time my heart is filled with sorrow, but at the same time filled with joy. I am so saddened that Sara won’t be with us here on Earth much longer, but I am brimming with joy over the fact that the moment Sara leaves this Earth, she will be doing cartwheels through the gates of Heaven. And God will say to her, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

    It’s hard to be joyful in the face of difficult circumstances, but Sara showed everyone that even through difficult times, you CAN choose joy. Having a chronic illness, being in constant pain, not being able to leave your home and still choosing joy? That’s Sara. And that’s why she has touched so many lives.

    I have never met Sara and I don’t think she even knows I exist, but she has blessed me. Thank you, Sara.

    “Joy: the unwavering trust that God knows what He’s doing and has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of it… not despite what’s happening in my life but because of it. When everything earthly feels heavy He gives me an internal lightness that can’t be touched.” – Sara Frankl

    • dukeslee

      Hi Tay … I’m so happy you came by today. (I was hoping you would!) I love it that you share “your five minutes” here in the comment box. And what a beautiful five-minute post this is.

      You honor Jesus well with your words, Tay. I am continually amazed at the way God is already using you, even at such a young age, to glorify Him.

      Thank you for specifically mentioning Sara here in the comment box. What a Light for Christ she is! She CHOOSES Joy.

  5. Diana

    Innter joy comes only from Jesus – I love it! Amen.

  6. misty

    Lovely reminders… Lovely. It’s hard not to be a little sad, but still- we have a choice.

    • dukeslee


      I’m so glad you mentioned the word “sad” here. I agree. It’s ok to be a little sad; in fact, I think it’s ok to be a LOT sad about things in this life.

      Life. Is. Hard.

      The world wants to measure joy by the externals, and by the way we feel. But if that is the only way to measure joy, then Jesus — fully man, fully God — never could have endured the cross for the JOY set before Him.

      It is next-to-impossible to excavate happiness in the middle of our pain. However, we can discover joy … this inner joy flowing from Christ. I am constantly relearning this, because I find myself defaulting to human happiness instead.

      What are your thoughts on that, Misty? I’d love to hear more.

  7. Megan Willome

    My husband is at a conference this weekend, and Steven Curtis Chapman is bringing the music. He says you can just feel the joy, which is really saying something, with all he’s been through.

  8. Eileen

    Jesus Joy! I like that!

  9. floyd

    Amen to that. The only true joy can be the result of housing within this soul cage the spirit of our heavenly Father.

    Thanks, seeking joy in Him.

  10. S. Etole

    Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy … how intertwined the two can be.

  11. Michelle DeRusha

    I hadn’t followed Sara’s blog very regularly, but I absolutely cannot get her out of my mind right now. That she has deliberately chosen joy in spite of everything — and her everything has been so very daunting. That is truly a miracle of God. She is a shining light. I’m so grateful you are lifting her up as a joyful example here, Jennifer.

    Blessings to you, friend.

  12. Ann Kroeker

    All I can think of right now is, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.”

    Sometimes I don’t feel it…and then I realize that I’m probably thinking of happiness, not joy. They are different. Happiness is fun and certainly embraced; but joy, well, joy smiles deep within, where the Spirit resides.

  13. Diana Trautwein

    Ah, yes indeed, sweet Jennifer. Joy is not a commodity to be bought and sold, but a gift to be received with gratitude and lived from the soul right on out. Jesus joy. Thanks for this.

  14. Julie Sunne

    I love this post! I have discovered that sweet, sweet joy from Jesus through His amazing grace not despite my circumstances but because of them. Jesus spoke to me through my beautiful noncommunicative 13-year-old daughter who pointed the way for my grief to turn into joy! Thank you for these precious words.

  15. Beth Herring

    i always love the word i get when i come here. you are just so anointed of God my friend and i am so thankful for you obedient heart! i love me some Jesus Joy and i desire to choose it daily!!

  16. Gramma T

    Wow there will be lots of JOY tomorrow for us. Two weddings and two beautiful brides shining faces. Can’t wait. That is pure joy. Jesus will be there at both weddings too and that makes it even more joyful!!! Oh yah can’t forget about the handsome grooms!!

  17. Leslie

    So beautifully written, encouraging in its simplicity.

  18. Amy Hunt

    His promise that we’ll see the other side of sorrow–that He always delivers us and brings us to Joy…such beautiful, freeing truth!

    I appreciate your comment at my place the other day! Rich blessings to you as you rest in His promises…


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