Happiness, what a strange and elusive concept. In secular society we are indoctrinated with the idea that we as humans deserve happiness.
Why? What have we done, or thought that makes us think that happiness is something we deserve? Why do we deserve anything? Maybe you think that because you're a "good" person that it makes happiness a right. But, if thats true, then what measure do you weigh yourself against? What standards do you think good? I'm sure Hitler believed what he did was good, and look at what bloodshed and death he caused.
I'm not saying that their aren't good people out there, but good to what standard? If we are so evolved, and believe so much that their is a standard, then who is it set by? Why do we feel the ache and longing pressed upon our hearts when we've done wrong? I know where the ache in my heart comes from, where the standard written upon my heart originates. The Lord, YAHWE, God, Everlasting King, Prince of Peace and the Lion that lives inside me.
Many of you may disagree, want to rage and demand why God would allow such horrors in the world. I ask you this: If you told your child to not jump from the banister and they did it anyway, would that spare them the consequences of broken bones, or hurt flesh; even if you wished to spare them the pain? You told them not to commit themselves to such a foolish action, but they did it anyways.
That is what our ancestors did, they chose, in effect, to jump from the banister, only instead of the act only carrying a broken leg or bruised flesh it was a catalyst that sent them, and all their children into a struggle between light and darkness. If you'd taken away the stairs, would that really change anything for the child, or would they simply go out into the world and find another set of stairs to jump from? If our hearts really desire something, if we really want something, and nothing or no one is going to stop us, then we'll find the broken bones and bruised flesh we sought out.
And in spite of the actions we took (and take everyday) that sent humankind and the world into a broken state, God still wanted to save us, wanted to spare us the ultimate pain, even if it caused pain in the interim. He died for us, for me, for you, for the entire world. He felt every tear, every death, every horror and action that was taken by Adam and Eve's children, the whole of humankind.
So I ask again, what makes us think we deserve happiness? The hard, and earth shattering truth is that we don't. We don't deserve anything; which means that every drop of life giving rain and blessed sunshine, every smile and laugh is a gift.
Knowing every breath and drop of water is a gift changes your outlook, if you have any sense. I say that with the knowledge that once upon a time I didn't treat those things like a gift, even with the knowledge I had. I knew, and believed the act of horror of my ancestors committed and yet I went on living like the earth was a right, instead of a gift. The funny thing is, or was, is that the more I treated everything as a right, like happiness, the less happy I was.
I don't believe that this idea is a knowledge issue. Look how many humane animal treatment and earth right's believers are out there screaming for care and responsible consumption versus careless overuse. If this was a knowledge issue, then happiness wouldn't be such a problem. Happiness is a heart issue, furthermore it's an issue of to whom your heart belongs. Does it belong to you, and in effect the prince of this world, or does it belong to God, YAWHE, King of All Kings? You may believe that your happy, even though you don't believe in God, but I ask you where will it be when you grow old, when all things pass away, when your abandoned, despised, when your husband leaves you for someone younger than your eldest daughter? My happiness is not based on things or circumstances, It is a joy, happiness and peace that abounds in God, in his everlasting peace, his sovereignty.
This is a happiness I choose everyday, but it is something that I still struggle with. I still grieve, cry, lament, however, at the end of everyday I know that God has already won, and someday soon I'll be home, standing before him with the knowledge and hope that I ran the race well, and kept getting up, moving forward, running the race.
So move forward in joy and trust that we are Gods children. Rest in his strength, in his joy, and you'll find more courage, joy and clarity than you'd ever imagined could be. Be joyful.