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Joy Beyond Understanding: Common Ground in Suffering and Worship among Eastern European Christians During the Communist Era


The Fulfillment and Purpose of Joy Beyond Understanding

The joy beyond understanding expressed in suffering and exuberant worship finds true fulfillment when it flows toward other people. Joy is a personal feeling, is a state of exaltation and profound emotion that is personal, is visible on the face of those who experience it, but then overflow for the benefit of others, it embodies and fulfills in the care and empathy for others.

The purpose of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in various ways, is not just for Christians to have a “good time”, it is much more to empower, “to guide and to transform the individuals in community so that the Pentecostal community can faithfully follow the Lord Jesus.”[38]

One way to express this joy beyond understanding is to help those around us and to bring personal witness to one another. Joy in worship, especially after the baptism in the Holy Spirit obviously leads to a desire to witness God’s plan of salvation for the salvation of those who did not gave their lives to God, as Frank Macchia said: “We are baptized in the Spirit so as to become living witnesses of Christ in the world.”[39]

The calling of those which experienced the touching of God in their hearts is to be engaged in social and evangelical mission, they cannot be static but, “always on the move, never satisfied and complacent, always engaged in the transformation of individuals and society.”[40]

Joy beyond understanding looks for righteous ways to help others, just as did Richard Wurmbrand, Nicolae Steinhardt or Constantin Caraman after experiencing this kind of joy they forgot their personal needs and were willing to help other prisoners. Aid in these circumstances is disinterested, does not seek personal benefits but it’s purpose is twofold: for helping those in need and for exaltation of God.

The Holy Spirit is the one who encourages believers to intervene to help the needy, Holy Spirit does not manifest only in supernatural powers and mighty works, but also in “feeding of the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the orphaned, and ministering to the abandoned, oppressed, or marginalized of the world.”[41]

So, when Christians engage in mission, “they join in the mission of the Spirit to help a person or group of people to begin or to progress in their participation in the Spirit of Pentecost and the fellowship of the Trinitarian God.”[42]

Just as after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost believers became more sensitive to the needy and were actively involved in solving social problems, also Christians today who have come to know the joy of the Holy Spirit beyond understanding cannot stay indifferent but actively involved in the relief of suffering of humanity.



Anderson Allan, Michael Bergunder, et. al., Studying Global Pentecostal, University of California Press, Berkeley Los Angeles, California, 2010.

Andreiescu Valeriu, Istoria Penticostalismului Românesc, vol.1, Casa Cărții, Oradea, 2012.

Bădiliță Cristian, Contac Emanuel ed., Si cerul s-a umplut de sfinti, Curtea Veche, București, 2012.

Bălăban Ciprian, Harisme şi instituţie în istoria Bisericii Penticostale din România (1922-1989), PhD. Thesis, 2013.

Bonhoeffer Dietrich, Costul uceniciei, Peregrinul, Cluj-Napoca, 2009.

Bruce F. F., Paul Apostle of the Heart Set Free, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan / Cambridge, U.K., 2000.

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About the Author: Eugen Jugaru, Ph.D. (Lucain Blaga University, Sibiu, Romania), is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the Pentecostal Theological Institute in Bucharest, Romania. He has pastored a Pentecostal church since 1993 and is the former President of Operation Mobilization Romania.

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