This week I've been thinking about joy for a while. For most of my life I always assumed that the words joy and happy were interchangeable. That all things that could make you feel happy were good. But after a while many of those things that made me happy, failed to bring me joy. The crucial part of joy is the lasting fulfillment. To demonstrate there have been those moments when I've been down in the dumps and yet someone has been able to make me laugh. But that laughter has always died after a while, and the gloom returns once again. Happiness is fleeting, and will not sustain you through sore trials.
Conversely joy is everlasting and will bear you up when you need comfort. It is impossible to compare the joy of watching your child grow up and learn to be successful and find joy on their own, to how you feel when you find out that Safeway is having a sale on Cheez-Its. Granted in my life I only know the happiness of the latter, but from what I've heard the former is quite different.
Note that in 2 Nephi 2:25 Lehi did not tell Jacob that "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might [be happy]". We are to have joy in this life. True joy that, while overshadowed at times by sorrow and grief, will always abide with those that are born-again in Christ and have tasted of his love.
I wish to bear testimony this week simply that I have found that joy. For much of my life I was just happy. I never paused to consider that there was more joy to be had in this world. But I now have considered my life pre-mission and how I felt overall, and I feel that I have truly found the joy that is promised to all those who will follow the example of Jesus Christ. As an ending I wish to encourage all to seek this joy every day of their lives. Trials come into our lives, and if you do not seek the joy, it may pass you by. Find and focus upon the tender mercies of the Lord as you go about your days.
I hope that you have a great week!
Love, Elder Gailey