True Joy in the words of Elton Trueblood

Let us be free from the silly pressure of maintaining a fake happy face in all situations (as shown in my earlier post on grieving), by knowing the difference between happiness and joy. One is an emotion, while the other is a gift of God. Elton Trueblood argued that the Christian does not have to choose between sadness or joy, but can live comfortable between both worlds, giving validation to one, while maintaining anchor in the other. We call this being authentic.

The Christian is [delighted], not because he is blind to injustice and suffering, but because he is convinced that these, in the light of the divine sovereignty, are never ultimate. He is convinced that the unshakeable purpose is the divine rule in all things, whether of heaven or earth (Eph. 1:10). Though he can be sad, and often is perplexed, he is never really worried. The well known humor of the Christian is not a way of denying the tears, but rather a way of affirming something which is deeper than tears. – Elton Trueblood (The Humor of Christ, 32)

What he is saying is that Christians can simultaneously experience joy and grief, when their underlying hope is in the resurrected Christ. Have you ever been grieved, yet felt strangely warmed by the presence of Christ?

About Lazo

Lazo is the pastor for preaching and vision at Reality SB. He is committed to spreading the worth of Jesus in Santa Barbara, through the expository preaching of God's Word. You might like these blog posts, 5 Wrong Ways To Comfort Hurting People or An Orthodoxy That Breathes

Posted on April 30, 2012, in quotes, theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “…not a way of denying the tears, but rather a way of affirming something which is deeper than tears.”

    Awesome quote. This sheds light on Paul’s word in Phil 4:4, “rejoice in the Lord always.” This is not attempting to always ‘look on the brighter side’. It is affirming something deeper.

  2. “the Christian does not have to choose between sadness or joy, but can live comfortable between both world” …. Chris, I’m not sure this is true of suffering and grief. It is most difficult to choose anything when doubled over by the pain of suffering. My pray is often “Lord, have mercy on my and hold me up.” Afterwards, the lyrics of this song is often my experience:
    “When all of a sudden
    I am unaware of these
    Afflictions eclipsed by glory
    And I realize how beautiful You are”

    I appreciate your authentic perspective!

  3. Answer to your last question, definitely. My uncle, who was more like a grandfather to me, passed away a couple of months ago due to cancer. Although my family, myself included, were in deep grieving and it was and still is such a hard time, I still fee, as you put it, warmed by the presence of Christ. Even during the funeral etc, I still felt this joy and a hope deep in my heart because I had hope in Christ. But more wonderful than feeling this myself, was actually being able to share that hope and love with some of my grieving family members. thanks for the post Lazo!

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