Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What, Then, is Happiness?

It's a beautiful morning in SW Ohio, the temperature is mild, the humidity is bearable (and has been all summer), the sky is blue, the birds are chirping, I'm drinking my coffee and eating Trader Joe's Coconut Cookie Thins for breakfast.  Why, then, are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  (Psalms 42:11)

I am feeling a great sadness within me this morning even though my circumstances are heavenly.  I am still dealing with the aspects of living with a battery operated brain, yes, but they are doable.  My son is home and back in school, and that is excellent.   My husband's business is picking up (thank you, Lord).  I have wonderful friends, family and acquaintances that I wouldn't trade for all the gold in Fort Knox (if there's any there).  I have a home and very little debt.  I have food and water and clothed like the lilies of the field.  I am blessed beyond measure, and I am content, but oh, the pain this world brings.

It brings the pain of a friend who had an allergic reaction to her medication - medication required to help her cope with the pains of Parkinson's Disease, and for other people other diseases and illness, it brings the pain of  people dealing with loss due to death or other circumstances like divorce and even abandonment, it brings the pain of people starving, people suffering due to war or threats of war, all the woes of men, and if you are a believer in Jesus and have the Holy Spirit living within you, you feel their pain and are moved by compassion to do something for them...something like prayer, or funds or some kind of physical effort.  For many of those we help in those ways, we feel uplifted because in serving them, we find out that they have hope because they, too, have Christ to give them hope.    Then there are those that have no hope, no joy, nothing to look forward to, and then the pain that I feel for them is crushing.

Life, in and of itself, is not happy.  We live moments of happiness, but for the most part, life is hard.
Happiness is elusive.  Psalms 42 ends with David crying out to God asking "Why are you cast down, o my soul and why are you in turmoil within me?"    Then, apparently, the old light bulb appears and he speaks to himself, saying:  "hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God."

That, then is the takeaway from my musings this morning, life is hard, and even in the best of circumstances, we may find happiness elusive; but the joy of the Lord truly is a believer's strength.  Because of Jesus, we have hope beyond and out of this world which brings joy in spite of whether or not we have anything to be happy about.  Joy, hope and confidence in the one who is leading you, can do a lot to bringing about a smile on one's face, a bounce to their step and assurance that tomorrow (whether it's spent here or there) will be a better day.