by David Brenneman
I had asked my Pastor last evening a question: "Is it possible to be at peace yet not be happy?" Before I share that answer, I'll write about someone who was that very same way, but I hadn't seen it as that until this morning. Interesting what sleep can do towards thinking.
Jeremiah's life was pretty much all that he had. He had to real possessions outside of what was on his back. He was pretty much given a task that not many I know, including myself, would have liked. People were going to hate him, they weren't going to like what he had to say. The word from the Lord Jesus wasn't good and they didn't want to hear that. He was falsely accused, put in dungeons and prisons. Left in a cistern to die but was rescued by an official of the King's court. Not much of a reason to be happy. He's often referred to as being the weeping prophet. Yet if you read between the lines he was at peace most of the time because exactly as said throughout his book, the Lord was with him.
So why would I ask such a question? Because largely that's something of where I am at in this stage of life. Which is also part of the answer I got last night.
Even a year later the social side of life is still in flux. I'm still going back and forth trying to create relationships. Still trying to settle down on other things in life.
I hardly think that I'm alone in all this or else I wouldn't be getting prompted to write about it.
So why wouldn't I be happy? Happiness is a feeling, peace is a state and a feeling. I've tried so many things in life that in that moment brought some form of happiness. Yet I cannot seem to re-capture that moment of happiness. I've decided against one course of an attempt at happiness so I will continue to look.
Part of me also is so deeply aware that true happiness isn't that far away. That being the return of Jesus. What in this world could possibly compare to that moment of finally being with Jesus? The feeling from a positive achievement doesn't last. It never will. It becomes a memory right after it happens.
I look at my life over the last year, I am amazed at all that God's accomplished in it. I am amazed at what I was doing a year ago. Was sorting out things to give away, trying to figure out what to keep. Was feeling the time crunch every weekend that we couldn't slow down and couldn't stop. A year ago this was a Saturday. A year ago I would be finding myself both looking forward to the new home town again and at the same time dreading leaving my Wife behind. Happiness wasn't to be truly found then either.
So is there an answer? I will let you know when I find one. I am torn between two ideals. Knowing that the time is short, that indeed in my lifetime it's highly likely that Jesus IS returning, and at the same time desiring to try this or that even knowing how futile it is. I might not even remember doing it or going through it when I'm with Jesus face-to-face.
I DO find joy in what I discover in my times in the Bible each morning, more than I do while the rest of the day happens.
I DO find joy when I'm able to help someone with either fixing something of theirs or of helping them on their way in life.
I just don't find joy in things anymore. Never really had when I think about it much.
My walk with Jesus is more important to me than the things I have in my life. Things in life break, my relationship with Jesus stands the test of time.
Things in life don't last, my walk with Jesus always will.
Each person who's come to Christ goes through similar and or different things than others who have gone on before them. Each of us is a unique bit of workmanship in Christ Jesus. Each Believer has a particular function in the body of Christ, the Church.
Reading Jeremiah, this time around, has been interesting in that we see someone who found little joy and happiness yet was still surrounded by the peace that passes all understanding. He was an emotional man, as we also see in Lamentations.
We are certainly not alone in our days on this world. As shared with some others...we aren't meant to ever STAY in that valley of the shadow of death. Psalm 23 says He takes us THROUGH it. We're told elsewhere in the New Testament that the comfort in which we received from others in Christ, we too will share with someone else. Comfort is the relief of something unpleasant. We may not ever understand our own unpleasantness in this life but we are assured it will have an end. We may not know why this broke at this point in time. But we know that when it broke God already was aware before the world was made that it would.
We may fear things that might be. Lord knows that I've been there a lot in the last 22 years. The unknown is a scary place to be thinking. We desire certainty and answers, but we're honestly not promised those things. We are promised that those who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus would suffer.
So I am still in search of a non-technical hobby. Am still considering an instrument to take up and learn. Something that uses a different part of my brain than problem-solving. The Bible says of Jesus that He was a man of sorrows well aquainted with grief. I'm certain great joy was found in Him when after the resurrection He and the Father were reunited.
My day begins in my Bible reading and in prayer. Seeking to do what's been put before me to the best of my abilities for my Savior. As Dr. Charles Stanley had written as well, our happiness isn't necessarily paramount to our life on this planet. Our sanctification in Christ Jesus has a LOT of speed bumps along the way. Our limited understanding of things isn't always able to keep up with what we will be transformed into in Christ Jesus. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. The peace of God will surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Who knows? Maybe my being unhappy is a good thing in Christ Jesus. I'm wanting this second chance to be done right in Christ, so not holding onto much in this world is certainly part of that.
Letting go of things, letting go of ideas, letting go of stuff that this world wants me to fixate on to find joy.
There's no real joy in things. There's no real joy in collecting things. There's absolutely no joy in packing and unpacking things when God says its time to move.
There's no real joy in accomplishments, because once they are a memory you find yourself trying to best those accomplishments. While at that moment those first one's were good, it could quickly turn unhealthy to keep at trying to best those earlier ones.
To be as equally fair...the peace that I have is also beyond words. When I rest in that peace that God's promised...my head clears. Which is saying a LOT. For most of my life my mind has multi-tasked thoughts. To be able to rest in a single train of thought is incredible to me. The peace that I have is only found in my relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ. To my mind, these days, accomplishments are worthless. I've no desire to drive myself to go further. I've already accomplished more in my life than I ever dreamed possible as a kid. What's left to do is beyond my financial ability to even consider. It's also beyond my physical ability to create. The consequences are probably why God's not allowed me to do those things. They do not fit into His plans for this world. Yes those ideas are that huge, they indeed would likely change the world. When God does things that's what He does...He changes the world. In many cases He's shown me that my ideas would have worked...but...the end of all things is near. His return will set in motion 1,007 years of life on this planet that this world has never seen before.
Our success isn't always going to fit into His plans for the next 1,007 years. To explain...when Jesus returns, that also means that 7 years of Great Tribulation and Judgements of God will happen. Billions are going to die in those 7 years. At the end of the 7 years, for 1,000 years, Jesus Himself will rule and reign on this world as the World Leader. This planet will know, all who have survived will know, what 1,000 years of life under the Prince of Peace is like. All animals will no longer be as they have been for thousands of years. Death will not dominate this world. War will not exist.
In your life you too might not really be happy. My thoughts are too, while in my unhappiness, rest in what I have in Jesus. Jeremiah may have found some semblance of happiness after his books were written. We're certainly in good company with both Jesus and Jeremiah. There will always be things that make me smile. Pointing people to Jesus does that for me. It's an interesting life we live. It's an interesting time in which we live.
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