A look at the state of things in our world is a sorry sight these days. Depression is an epidemic. A recent survey showed that two out of three americans can't call themselves happy. And we are the people blessed with more than almost any other nation... surely we should be a happy people. We have virtually everything we could want. But instead we're far from it.
And I wonder... where are the Christians who are the happiest people in the world... the Christians whose hearts are so full that they overflow with a joy that is contagious... the Christians who are living the abundant life... the Christians whose joy is a light to a dark, depressed world?
We have the promise.
"Those who in everything make God first and last and best, are the happiest people in the world..."
Truth is, if we don't have a joy that is deeper than any frustration, it speaks loudly that we have never truly known Love. And if we haven't, I wonder how we can be so sure that we are His followers.
Because when we really begin to grasp His love, no pain can quench the deep joy He gives. Life doesn't have to bring us sunny skies when we have the smile of His face. We don't have to have every whim gratified when we have all we could ever need in our Jesus.
One of the greatest evidences to me that my Jesus is real is the way He fills the hole in my heart like nothing else can. Even just this last week I ran off into my busy little world, happy about all the things that were going so perfectly, only to find myself stumbling along a little later trying to understand why I felt so empty. Silly girl. It's not like it's a new truth. Not even "perfect" circumstances can fill the hole He designed to fill with Himself. An hour with Him and I was more sure than ever that nothing in the world can make us sad when Jesus makes us glad-- and nothing in the world can make us truly glad if we don't have Jesus at our side.
Yet we spend so much of our lives waiting for everything to line up so we can be satisfied. As a little girl, I thought life would be so amazing when I could grow up and be a teenager. Once I got to being a teenager, I couldn't wait until I had finished high-school. When I finished high-school I eagerly anticipated finishing my associates. Once that was done, I started looking forward to finishing my Bachelors, and on and on. And I doubt I am the only one who has thought along such lines.
But why, oh why, would we put off our happiness until some future event takes place? Honestly, there will always be something we are waiting for. And if circumstances really are nothing to do with our happiness, why don't we put all of our little excuses aside and put Him first, last and best, and be the happiest people in the world?
Truth be known though, statistics don't show that we are shockingly more joyful and fulfilled than the world. Sure, we may seem to be a little better off, but why aren't physiologists blown away by the incredible joy of those who follow God? What have we missed?
Maybe the answer is really simple... Maybe we've missed Him. Maybe we have a little more knowledge than the world... and thus are a little better off. But maybe we've really missed Who it is all about, and thus there is no shocking evidence of our increased happiness.
I wonder if deep down, we've let the world alter our belief of where joy comes from. After all, we know that happiness doesn't come from circumstances... but so often we live like it does-- like we can't be happy until "such and such" changes.
Really though, life doesn't have to change one bit for us to be happy. We already have everything that our little hearts could ever long for.
We have a Friend who loves us beyond our greatest imagination of love... a Friend who will never stop gently pursuing our hearts... a Friend who will stick with us through thick and thin. It is our privilege to be with Him each second of each day for the rest of our lives. How could we not be the happiest people alive?
Maybe, instead of spending our life waiting for something to change so that we can claim happiness, we should pause and pick the flowers, capture the sunset, and melt in a Love that won't stop fighting for our heart.
Maybe living this second with Him is the only real recipe to our happiness.
And just maybe, it's the recipe to His as well.