"Are you happy?" This question was just asked of me the other day. I had to stop and really think about that before I answered, and come to think of it I never really did answer the question! It did provoke me to write this blog entry though.
Happiness seems to be the thing we search for in life. In counseling I will occasionally get a woman who tells me that she wants happiness from her life. She is upset that happiness eludes her as she goes about her daily tasks and she seeks my help in finding what she thinks she has lost.
Personally, I don't think happiness is to be found here. I do believe that God puts people and things in our lives for us to enjoy but not to make us happy. This is a sin-cursed world and the lover who makes us happy now is in the next minute is ticking us off or hurting us. That sort of happiness is totally conditional on our circumstances. When all goes as I think it should go then I am happy. But somehow, I don't think that is important to the Lord.
I have to say that I know He does not desire that we wander around with long faces and red eyes from crying but I seriously doubt God delights in our relentless pursuit of happiness here on earth.
This place is not our home. Earth and this life and all it contains are temporary. The writer of Hebrews makes that point clearly in Chapter 11 verses 13 and 16. We are aliens and strangers in this land. Our life does not truly begin until we are finished here. This world is for us preparation for the next world which will be without end.
I think that if more Christians had this attitude, if we really, really believed that we would not spend our days searching for happiness and contentment and fulfillment here. It took me a very long time to realize what I say here and I don't always live it either. I am as susceptible to falling into worldliness as anyone else. Reading one of my blogs from the end of last year and the beginning of this year is enough to convince anyone of that!
I want ease and happiness as much as the next gal, I just know that it is not to be found here except in fleeting moments. This life is about work and change. It is about hardship and heartache. This life is the Undergrad Program on the way to the most prestigious and coveted degree offered. We won't receive that until we stand in the presence of the risen Lord and He says to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
So, what do I spend my life doing then? What is the point? The point is we spend each day learning how to glorify God in the midst of work and change, trial and hardship and even heartache. If you believe in a sovereign God who orders and orchestrates all the events of our lives then you must also believe that He is in each of those things that come your way each day.
I am learning to find happiness in Him alone. Even when my circumstances are not to my liking, the call on my life has not changed one iota. Even when my heart is heavy and nothing is going my way I can rest in knowing it is marching along unimpeded God's way. I do think this is how Paul managed to rejoice in his circumstances. He stopped looking at them through his own eyes and achieved the ability to look at all of life through the eyes of the Almighty God. He could then see things beyond "self."
Re-reading his epistles as he awaited execution tells that story clearly! I wish I could have his eyes, but I am not at all crazy about what it would take to get there! I am wimpy and I like my creature comforts. Would I be willing to give them all up to have what Paul had? To have the ability to look at all my life issues through those heavenly eyes?....
This I am not at all totally sure of. I remain a work in progress.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6