By: Steve Wilmot
With this column, I conclude an investigation into the myth that God wants you happy.
Too often, we use that line as an excuse to do what we know is wrong because it will make us happy. And after all, my happiness is the bottom line.
But the truth is God doesn’t want you happy as much as he wants you obedient — the only way to true happiness, by the way. He also prefers you to experience joy, which, unlike happiness, is not determined by the circumstances you find yourself in.
This week, I want to explore one more thing God wants for that’s more valuable than your happiness. God wants you blessed.
The Greek New Testament word that is translated blessed is a word that means supremely blessed. That’s better than being happy by far.
Ask yourself a couple of questions. If I’m pursuing happiness, why? Why am I shooting so low? Why am I settling for something that doesn’t last? Why am I pursuing something that isn’t even possible all the time?
God wants you blessed, but what does that look like? Ask someone, “Are you blessed?” and you’re likely to hear something along these lines: “Praise report. God blessed me with a new Lexus. Oh, glory to God. We are so blessed. We got this new house. I got a raise. We are so blessed.”
Of course, those are great things, but is it only a blessing when good things happen? Is blessing, like happiness, dependent on what happens? Or could it be that sometimes blessings come in disguise?
Sometimes God will bless you with a job where you make a ton more money. He may bless you with healthy children. He could bless you with a conflict-free life for periods of time. He might bless you with a healing from a terminal illness.
But what if he doesn’t? Is it possible God may bless you by allowing you to lose your job, or have a special needs child, or endure one problem piled on top of another?
Take losing your job. How could that be a blessing? So, you can learn to trust God like never before. So you can finally pay attention to your wife and kids whom you’ve been neglecting as you built a career.
Laura Story wrote a song that addresses the question of whether blessings can come when times aren’t as we’d wish them to be. Here are a few of the lyrics.
‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life —
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights —
Are your mercies in disguise
I’ve been through events that seemed as far away from a blessing as they could be. But looking back, I can see they really were blessings. The heart-wrenching years I had a prodigal son. The time I was ran out of a church I was pastoring. My battle with cancer.
Without exception these were the darkest times in life. But they were also blessings in disguise. Blessings I didn’t realize until later.
I’ll bet you have those events in your life, too. Too bad we can’t recognize them as blessings when they’re happening instead of after the fact. Aren’t those blessings better than short-term happiness?
As much as I would like to tell you, “Come to God, and you’ll be happy all the time,” I won’t because it’s not true.
The fact is God has something better for you than happiness, something permanent that lasts in good times and bad times.
Jesus told us, “Seek the Kingdom of God and right living above all else, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
Not seek happiness. Not seek the things we want. Seek God. The good news is God doesn’t always want you happy. He’s got something much, much better for you than that — joy, blessings, contentment, peace, hope.
Seek God and ditch the happiness quest. You’ll be glad you did.
Steve Wilmot is a former Edgerton, Ohio area pastor who now seeks “to still bear fruit in old age” through writing. He is the author of seven books designed to assist believers to make steady progress on their spiritual journey.
The post Column: PASTOR’S PONDERINGS – Want To Be Happy Or Blessed? first appeared on The Village Reporter.
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