“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Heb 12 v 2
I think that often we lack God's perspective on joy and happiness. That old chestnut of: if there is a God, why does he allow suffering?, suggests a view that suffering is always bad, and that happiness/joy and suffering/pain must always be diametrically opposed to each other. When Jesus said that he came to give us life to the full, what picture do these words paint in our mind? Do we imagine a life involving struggling and pain and even failiure or a much more rosy one where no one can knock the cheesy grin off our face and we all live “happily ever after”? I did grow up in a church where the teaching seemed to suggest that all those bad times were either pre-conversion or as a direct result of me sinning now. Life with Jesus was about proclaiming victory and if you didn't have a good story to tell, better wait until you did before speaking out...
Maybe God's view of life on this earth isn't so black and white. Maybe one of the things we see in the life, and particularly the death and resurrection of Jesus is that there is a wider view of joy to be had, involving not only victory and hope but also suffering and pain.