Disney World claims to be the “Happiest Place on Earth, ” and I don’t think too many people would disagree with their proclamation. I love Disney World. Standing in the parks makes me feel like a child once again. Ears firmly attached to my head, I run between attractions. I giggle like a school girl as I wait to see Mickey Mouse. I am not alone in these feelings as I watch hundreds of other adults descend back into their childhoods. Laughter fills the air around me and smiles stretch from one ear to the other. Disney is a happy place.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Sadness and heartache darken the souls across our world, and Disney World is not immune to some of these problems. I remember bouncing around Epcot one day when my cell phone rang unexpectedly. The hospital, where my mother was recouping from an infection, called to inform me her condition was deteriorating quickly. Hospice was needed and the outlook bleak. I stood by the Mexican area of Epcot and cried. Not gentle tears, but sobs of anguish that flowed in torrents down my cheeks. My heart, torn asunder, as a thousand miles separated me from my mom’s bedside. Disney World was no longer the happiest place on earth for me. They could do nothing to change my circumstances at that moment.
1 Timothy 4:10 “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”
Happiness does not last. Happiness is a fleeting emotion, one that is blown by the winds of turmoil. Even though I believe Disney is one of the happiest places, my experience with my mom showed me that even their signature happiness is temporary. Before you sink into despair under the weight of the world’s problems, know there is hope for something better.
Joy, for the Christian heart, provides a different feeling than happiness. A definition of joy from John Piper states “Christian joy is a feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and the world.” We can experience this feeling even in the midst of an emotional breakdown in the middle of Epcot. My mom knew Jesus as her savior, so my joy during the pain came from knowing I will see her again one day. The joy feeling resides deep and overcomes any other emotions from the world. The joy Christ plants within us is never temporary like the happiness of Disney.
Psalm 30:5 “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Where does this joy come from in our troubled world? Our joy comes from the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus. When we know Jesus on a personal level, we know His joy. No matter what happens to us, the joy remains. We still cry and experience sadness in our lives, but Christ provides hope for better things to come. Even if we struggle with pain or heartache throughout our entire life, we know that in the end, we will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior. I would even go so far as to proclaim that Heaven will be the happiest place in the universe. The joy planted in our hearts prepares us for the comfort that will last for all eternity with Jesus and all the saints who have gone before us.
Yvonne, Blogger, speaker, and author
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”