That’s not a joke. And it’s true. For the first part of my pastoral ministry, this was my message: God wants you to be happy.
Happiness is not some practice of fools, some pollyanna attitude, nor is it some kind of brainwashing because we choose to be happy. It is a choice. We can focus on all that is horrible in the world and our lives, or we can focus on the good. Our focus is what our mind chooses to dwell on.
When we choose to be bottom feeders, grazing on all the hurts that have come in our lives, it festers in our soul, poisons our attitude, and brings us down. Choose to be a top feeder.
During WWII, Corrie Ten Boom hid people with mental disabilities so the Nazis wouldn’t kill them as part of their “eugenics” policies. She also hid Jews who the Nazis were hunting to eradicate. A Nazi informant turned her in. Her family was sent to the concentration camps. She not only didn’t lose her faith, while in the concentration camps she brought many to Christianity. She escaped the Nazi gas chamber by only days, being set free because of a “clerical error.”
“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
― Corrie Ten Boom
In the Beatitudes, part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus began by saying, blessed are those … who are poor in spirit, who mourn, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the peacemakers …. The word bless in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament can be translated as “happy,” meaning pleasure or contentment. That’s very close to the actual meaning.
There are days when it seems the world, or at least someone is against us. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5: 11-12 (NASB)
Out of touch with reality
I lived out of the US for two years in military service. The only news I got from the US was from my subscription to US News and World Report, and AP Wire news. It was all negative. For two years I heard about everything wrong with the US. I began to wonder if I wanted to go back.
When I returned home, most everything was okay. There was rioting and protests, some violent, but overall life was good. We have to focus on the larger picture.
Faith and love bring healing
Everything about faith is designed to bring you to a state of contentment or happiness. You are forgiven. Those past things you did need never come back to haunt you and destroy your happiness. You forgive and love others so that your relationships with others are restored.
God is in control. Many good people perished in the Nazi gas chambers, Christians and others as well as mostly Jews. Some like Corrie Ten Boom didn’t – they were rescued. There are people who will do us harm. Yet those enemies can one day become our close friends again. Keep the faith. Keep hope.
Have fun! It’s essential.
Why fun is the secret to a healthier life. – Ted Talk.
Our answer is God. God’s answer is us.