A couple of weeks ago I asked a friend how I could pray for him and he said, “For happiness.” I’ve been thinking it since then, my thoughts often taking me down various and sundry rabbit trails which bring me to some unexpected places. Here in America it’s a “right”–we have the pursuit of happiness written right into our constitution, but it follows “life” and “liberty.” In many countries it is a constant struggle just to survive and have enough food to eat. Happiness to them would probably be not having to worry about that every day. Then there are those who have enough but lack liberty. Freedom is something we take for granted here even though we shouldn’t. Finally there is “the pursuit of happiness.” Aha! It’s something we have to pursue! But do we ever catch it, or is it something which catches us?
Psalm 84:10 says, “For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside.” I used to wonder about that verse, but as I begin to understand it (and it’s taken me 30 years to do so) I can honestly relate to what the sons of Korah were saying here. There have been moments in my life in which God “showed up.” They are usually unexpected (I call them “suddenlys”) but when they happen I am surprised by joy (as well as my inability to contain it!). It’s as if I’m standing beneath a waterfall trying to catch it with my tiny little cupped hands! It triggers a wellspring of its own inside of me and for however long it lasts I am there where I belong, soaking in His love for me, and I am home. Home is in God’s presence.
Oswald Chambers said, “Happiness is not a sign that we are right with God; happiness is a sign of satisfaction, that is all, and the majority of us can be satisfied on too low a level. Jesus Christ disturbs every kind of satisfaction that is less than delight in God.” So if you’re not happy, consider yourself “disturbed by Jesus Christ.” That’s a good thing, by the way. God’s purpose is to make us full of happiness and joy, but it is happiness and joy from God’s standpoint, not from ours. He loves us enough to stir up our hearts to want more, but we have to ask and keep on asking, for those who ask receive, and those who seek find, and to those who knock, the door will be opened.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”