Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
I've been studying Philippians a lot lately. I just love Paul's message in it! At this point he writes to the church of Philippi and basically tells them no matter what's going on around you, keep your hearts focused on the Lord and rejoice in Him. He sees the big picture and has things all under control.
It's easy to think happiness and joy are the same thing, but there's a fundamental difference. Happiness is situational and if you let it, it can own you. If we count on everything to be perfect we'll be let down over and over because life is messy.
Joy, on the other hand, comes from outside of us. It is not dependent on circumstances. Even when the world seems to be falling down around us we have access to a supernatural peace that defies explanation. Paul understood this. It's why he could sit in a prison cell, chained & battered, yet not broken. He was focused on the light of the Lord & meant it when he said, "Rejoice!"
I was thinking about that when I painted in my bible. Paul's letter made me think of sunflowers. They love the light, so they follow the sun and in that light they grow tall and strong. We're kind of like that, aren't we? If we wallow in darkness, all we see is chains, but when we seek the light of Jesus we can rejoice in what's to come.