Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Joy has been considered by Christian people very largely as an exceptional state; whereas sobriety — by which is meant severity of mind, or a non-enjoying state of mind — is supposed to be the normal condition. I knew a Roman Catholic priest that was as upright and conscientious a man as I ever met, who said he did not dare to be happy; he was afraid that he should lose his soul if he was; and he subjected himself to every possible mortification, saying, "'It is not for me to be happy here; I must take it out when I get to heaven. There I expect to be happy." That was in accordance with his view of Christianity. Now, it is of the utmost importance that it should be understood that health of soul and joyfulness are one and the same thing. You cannot be healthy in soul and not be happy. The true idea of religion is one that makes men happy by making them happiable; that brings them into that soul-knowledge, and into that concord of soul, out of which comes happiness. Remember that the state of suffering, if you must suffer, is the abnormal state, and that a true Christian is a man who is a happy Christian. You may say, "I cannot be happy." Very well, then you cannot be an ideal of true Christianity. You are not able to reach the highest condition of which the human soul is capable. It does not follow because a man has one leg shorter than the other, and is obliged to limp, that limping is a part of the best state of man. The man whose legs are lithe, and who can run like a roe, is a true man physically, in so far as that is concerned; and the man who is maimed, and cannot do this, is physically so much less than a true man as he falls short of the possibility of it.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.