When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
- Genesis 39:19-23
When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.
- Esther 8:15-17
You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
- Hebrews 10:34
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
- James 1:2-3
“Your art, then, said Vertue, seems to teach men that the best way of being happy is to enjoy unbroken good fortune in every respect. They would not all find the advice helpful.”
- C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress
If you know that you have Jesus in your heart and your conditions are not “unbroken good fortune”, would thinking that is the source of happiness be helpful advice?
Joseph, who seemed to always have bad days, but always remained happy, content, and willing to serve his masters. One master throws him into prison and then the warden takes advantage of his organizational skills and sits back and relaxes while Joseph runs the prison that he cannot leave. Yet, Joseph continued to praise God.
In the case of the Jews in exile, they did not throw the party until Mordecai was dressed in royal robes after securing an edict that the Jews would be protected. The Scriptures say nothing about counting it all Joy before that moment.
Then in Hebrews, they are being praised by the author for being joyful even when your possessions are taken away, understanding where their lasting possessions are being kept, in Heaven.
Yes, Vertue, I would not consider it sage advice to think that I had to have a lot to be happy.
I may have very little in earthly standards, but I have an abundance of the Holy Spirit within me. I have enough to keep going and enough to consider options in moving closer to the grandchildren.
Do I need any more?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.