What is the difference between happiness and joy? Great question. Happiness occurs usually out of external circumstances or event. Joy springs forth internally – from your soul. We all know how to find happiness it’s fairly easy to achieve. Joy, on the other hand supersedes happiness and can engulf you at the happiest of moments or in the pit of despair. Wait… What? How can joy spring forth from a person’s soul while they are experiencing deep anguish and despair? Joy and suffering are odd companions. It’s in these moments where you experience God in a supernatural way. When the miracle of joy manifests you know that Christ is near. He hears and feels your loss and pain. There is no other way to describe it. There is power in joy.
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever” (Psalm 30:11-12). I’ve experienced mourning into dancing when my Father died at the age of 61. Congenital heart failure. He was a man’s man. All American blue collared construction worker. He believed that a man made his own destiny and said he would believe in God if he saw him. Throughout my life I daily prayed for my Dad’s salvation. Part of my routine prayer life. When it became evident that my Dad’s days were numbered, I fervently prayed that my Dad would see God and believe. In the midst of those prayers I also begged for proof that my Dad would make it to heaven. When he passed it was bone crushing to me. As he drew in his last breath, I had my hand resting across his. Instantly my uncontrollable sobbing burst into joy. From the center of my soul I experienced such joy that I could not stop smiling and I began to hysterically laugh. I knew in that instant that my Dad had walked through the gates of heaven. Jesus new the angst and despair of my being and transformed my sorrow into joy. I’m quite sure the people at the hospital thought I was crazy as I sat with him and finally left his side. My sorrow was still a part of my being but the joy confirmed my Dad’s eternal destination and comforted me immensely because God, the maker of all things cared to comfort me with the power of His joy.
That experience has been evidence for me that God hears and answers prayers. Prayers of desperation. Scripture such as Jeremiah 31:13 is legit. God does turn mourning into joy and this joy is a comfort to lean on moving forward.
 New International Version (NIV)