“I don’t think God wants us to live a miserable life; I think that he wants his followers to be happy…”
This is a statement that we hear all too often.
There seems to be this idea in modern Christianity that Holiness = Happiness, but I want to challenge that idea.
The Bible directly tells us that this life is going to be full of trials and hardship.
“…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
This being the case, what is the reason that people seem to think this so much?
People like feeling happy, who doesn’t?
Happiness is like sitting on a big, fluffy cloud of cotton candy where you get to eat as much chocolate as you want and not gain weight!
But here’s the thing; Happiness is based on Happenings.
Something good happens, and you feel happy, but eventually, that emotional high is going to wear off and leave you needing something else to, one again, give you that emotional high.
Emotions can be good. But they can also be fickle and fleeting. Like the tide they come and go. They may be high for a few short moments, but eventually it’s gone and your emotions-much like the waters-are low once more.
Here’s the thing, without the lows, we would never get to experience the Goodness, Faithfulness or Love of Jesus.
Without the lows, we would never get to experience Jesus’ faithfulness throughout our constant straying and trying to go on ahead or stay back. He is the most patient father; he waits when we want to stay where we are and he patiently calls to us to come back to him when we try to run on ahead or wander away-be it intentional or unintentional. He never leaves our side. If we were happy all the time, then we would never know his constant faithfulness.
And, without the lows, we wouldn’t experience his goodness. We wouldn’t know that he is healer, redeemer, savior, the mighty king, the ultimate counsellor. What it all comes down to is this: If we were happy all the time, then we wouldn’t know that we are sinners in need of saving, for, it is only in that lowness where we realize that we have sinned and fallen short and therefore never experience that incredible joy of knowing the unconditional love of Jesus!
Happiness might feel good for a moment, but no amount of happiness could ever give us the same amount of joy that comes from knowing the Father.
Happiness is Fleeting but Joy is Forever.
Joy is knowing that somewhere beyond the hardships and lows, somehow, God will use it to grow your relationship and use it for the glory of his name. It’s knowing that he is with you and that he will get you through. It’s the knowing, in the deepest part of your soul, that while what you are going through might not feel good, that you will make it out and that he has got you every single step, every single bump and every single trip-up of the way.
You may feel joy when happy, but joy is that knowingness in your heart that stays with you long after the feelings of happiness have gone away.
Strive for a life full of God’s joy, not happiness, and your life will become full in a way you never would have imagined!