For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
So many people around me are struggling through some of the most difficult trials; loved ones still in the throws of addiction, infidelity, car accidents, suicide, children serving in the Middle East… so many trials.
We are called as Christians to be filled with Joy and Praise but when our “happenings” are not conducive to happiness how do we resolve the disparity.
For me prior to Christ the solution was everything EXCEPT Christ. Drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, credit card abuse to take expensive vacations, buy new cars, get nice things. And when that didn’t work it was counseling, self-help books, I even reached a state of preclear in Dianetics.
I can’t recommend any of those unless you want to add understanding the Books of Ecclesiastes personally to your testimony. They are ALL dead end roads.
The interesting thing though is at the time I “felt” they all brought me happiness. That brief and fleeting moment after the big purchase but before the buyers remorse. That short window when the never-ending itch didn’t itch any longer.
But it never stops itching for long – and it always wants to be filled up again. Spending, food, lust, addictions… they are all trying to numb the unhappiness.
So we have two types of pain or unhappiness – that which is beyond our control brought about by a fallen world and separate from God and that which is self induced through poor choices; free will.
For me I’m realizing that Joy is separate from those both. That I am not who I was, that God promises to NEVER forsake me, that God promises He will finish the Good Works that He began. These are the assurances that tells me my immediate unhappiness and struggle is but for a season but His love, grace, mercy, calling, purpose, passion and power and above all salvation is eternal.
That does not necessarily take away the unhappiness in the moment; but it infuses a joy of knowing that I am never alone, I am never powerless or helpless, and our pain will always leads back to our Father who loves us and makes our faith stronger IF we endure and remain faithful.
We cannot succumb to the overwhelming desires to run from the hurt, bury it, medicate it, pretend it doesn’t exist. Our emotions are a critical part of what makes us human. We just give them too much control over our behavior. We can “feel” them, but we are not to live our lives acting upon them.
Feelings can lie to us. Like a groove cut in an album that creates a skip, there can be events and hurts from our past that corrupt the beautiful music God is playing in our present… even in the midst of hardship and heartaches.
Lost your joy – Get in your bible to be reminded of Who you are, Whose you are, and Who God is and what His promises are.
Lost your happiness – call a friend, join a Life Group through Church, go to counseling.
Stuck in addictions – join healing communities like AA, SA, NA, OA, CR
I promise all of those solutions are life changing IF you do the work.
Hopefully it’s a bit clearer that happiness and joy are not interdependent or proportional to each other. And in fact, joy can have a profound affect on our happiness (or lack there of) however our unhappiness should never affect our joy.
God is bigger than our problems!
Father God, I thank you this morning, this new year for the ever increasing awareness of Your presence and Your ability to draw my attention above the fray of daily circumstances. Yes there are some interpersonal struggles that have existed for decades that I am speaking into in love through Your power and grace alone and for that although unhappiness may ensue from painful encounters, I have great joy IN YOU for I know that it’s the avoidance of dealing with unpleasant thing that gives them a foothold. I am learning to accept hardship as a pathway to peace Father and for that I am incredibly grateful Lord. May we all come to know You more this year Father, and in that love Your world in a new and Christ-like way each day. Thank you Jesus for my life.