"..our Father's plan subjects us to temptation and misery in this fallen world as the price to comprehend authentic joy. Without tasting the bitter, we actually cannot understand the sweet. We require mortality's discipline and refinement as the 'next step in[our] development' toward becoming like our Father."
-Bruce C. Hafen, "The Atonement: All for All," Ensign, May 2004, 97
I'm not sure why this quote stuck out to me when I read it. I've heard about and understand the need for opposition in all things, but I guess that my mind and soul needed a gentle reminder that without experiencing all the growing pains and heartaches of this world we wouldn't be able to "comprehend authentic joy." We could possibly experience some counterfeit version of joy- a fleeting happiness, physical pleasure, momentary glimpses of joy- but we'd never really be able to experience and take in the sensation of real authentic joy.
I can think of times in my life when I wasn't following God's commandments, and how I thought I was "happy" sometimes. But as often as not, I was miserable. I had no real JOY in my life. I still had the heartaches and pains of this world, but without the benefit of authentic joy to balance it out. Without accepting our Father's plan and agreeing to be involved in the growth He had in store for me, I never would have experienced true joy.
In my mind true joy is that wonderful peaceful, happy, contented feeling I get when I know I'm doing the best I can and I'm physically as well as spiritually aware of my Savior's presence in my life. It's not a moment of feeling giddy or excited, just a calm and pleasant feeling that life is good. It's knowing that the Savior is completely aware of who I am, where I am, and what help He'll have to give to get me where He wants me to be. I am reassured of His love and His grace, and that makes life truly joyful.
I wouldn't trade that feeling for any of Satan's counterfeits. No amount of wordly success, fame, fortune, or physical sensation could ever take the place of the very special and life-altering joy that God has given me.