The Neccessity of Joy
In the penultimate chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans,the author prays for the Christians in Rome and emphasizes to them the importance of recognizing God's providence in their lives so they may grow closer to him. As God's caring provision provides the foundation of their faith, he writes that it will bring joy and peace to believers' hearts so they may be moved to glorify him. In understanding and trusting in God's work in their lives, Paul maintains that believers will be provided with a supernatural, divine hope (and hopefulness) that will bring them joy and peace—a gift that can only be endowed by God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The verse reminds us that focusing on God's providence, firmly rooted in love, creates a foundational sense of enduring joy and sustains us in the everyday moments that delight, dismay, and challenge us. At Pepperdine, this foundational joy is channeled in the classroom, in community, in discovery, and in victory. But what is joy's place in challenge? How does the wonder and power of God's providential care sustain our community when things don't go as planned? How does God's promise influence and shape the ways we live, learn, and lead as a community so that it may bring joy and peace to our hearts?
James 1:2–3 says, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." As humans who tend to resist suffering in favor of less challenging pursuits, we are conditioned to rush through difficult circumstances to get to the other side of the pain. Yet the Bible says all things must be endured. And the most painful of things push us toward becoming more like Jesus and growing stronger in our faith—the truest manifestation of heavenly joy.
Indeed, joy is a necessity and an essential part of Christian life. And as a community composed of people of conviction, Pepperdine students, faculty, staff, and alumni are encouraged to find our purpose in this manifestation of the joy that is accessible through Jesus by keeping our eyes on our savior so we may be strengthened by his everlasting love.