The snow has fallen heavy around here in the past few days. It’s the end of February, and I’m staring out the window longing for warmer weather and flip-flops.
“Can I build a snowman family?” she asks, interrupting my daydream of laying on the deck in the hot sun, book in hand.
She’s living completely in this glorious moment.
I could stand to learn a lesson or two from her.
She heads outside and I enjoy the quiet for a few moments.
Lately I’ve wondered if the quest for happiness – the desire to create a nice little life for myself – is actually hindering what God wants to do in and through me?
Isn’t that what we all do without thinking? Protect ourselves from difficulty, pursuing happiness instead?
It’s quite possible to falsely assume that happiness and the positive feelings we have come from knowing God well and walking in His ways. But what if these happy feelings come solely from the fact that our lives are moving along according to our plans?
And are our plans always God’s?
No, not always. Maybe more like rarely.
Does a smooth life always mean God is blessing it?
Because let’s face it – the work of the Spirit in our lives is rarely comfortable. He’s always convicting us, stretching us, moving us beyond our comfort zones.
Perhaps the state of spiritual contentment we often have has anesthetized us to God’s call to move forward.
She calls me to the door to see her snow creations. “Take a picture, Mama?” She poses dutifully for the camera.
The Christian life is not a search for fullness and satisfaction now, in this world. It is a glorious, sure and certain hope for complete joy and satisfaction in the life to come.
We exult in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).
So why to we relentlessly pursue happiness in this life?
I know why I do. Difficulties are not fun. Tribulations are described in the Bible as a pressing together. None of us like to be squeezed through affliction and trials. It’s painful So we try to escape. We pursue happiness at all costs.
Scripture tells us we can exalt in our tribulations. We can rejoice and even boast in them.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations (Romans 5:3).
How is this even possible?
Because of what we know. We know from the authority of God’s Word that tribulations bring about perseverance. and perseverance proven character. and proven character, hope (Romans 3-4).
So then perhaps I am hindering what God wants to do in and through me by trying to create a nice little life for myself. In an effort to manage my life, I’m effectively trying to assume control and refusing to believe God is sovereign. What if instead of running from difficulty, I embraced them head-on, knowing that the ultimate result in my life is perseverance, proven character, and hope?
And hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). This is not wishful thinking. Our hope is a confident expectation for complete joy and satisfaction, not now, but when we meet Christ.
She calls from the door again asking for more things to decorate her snow family.
It’s arrogant and prideful to demand satisfaction in this life, and to get pouty and angry when life doesn’t deliver happiness.
God wants to work something in and through us. The Potter is shaping something beautiful out of these jars of clay. And it will be well worth the refiner’s fire.
I’m choosing to pursue God, not happiness. To let Him have His perfect way in me.