This photo was taken in June 2014 at friend’s surprise birthday party. I was suffering from a terrible, terrible toothache. My dentist had prescribed a painkiller for the weekend, and my appointment was on Monday. The day after this photo, a Sunday, we were at church and I had taken the painkiller, which put me to sleep. As service neared its close, my then boyfriend, wanted us to tip out before the benediction because I had drooled all over his shoulder and he didn't want to stay and talk to everyone after church service. Was I happy? I was suffering from nerve death in tooth number 10 when this photo was taken. But, yes, I suppose was happy! I still am happy! My husband makes me happy. Having someone to share life with, in both good times and bad, in times of stress and in times of relaxation, when the unexpected happens, when mail comes—my husband is my partner, my mate. We are happy! Our children make us happy—we celebrate their accomplishments in school, in their sports, in their decisions. The list of things that make me happy is extensive: spending time with nieces and nephews and family, sharing a good conversation, spending time in nature, traveling, listening to music, writing, going to formal events, making someone else happy makes me happy! Lots of things make me happy.
Is it our happiness that should be our concern? In this world, each day there are accidents, shootings, threats, riots, bombs, earthquakes, floods, political drama, and those are just the morning’s headlines! Personally, our employers downsize, our doctors deliver diagnoses, and our children misbehave. As we experience the aftermath, the cleanup, the debate with the insurance company, we may not find happy times. Happiness is a temporary state of mind. In the midst of stress, we can sometimes pause to do something that makes us happy, but the stressor remains. During the 60+ days we spent without a kitchen, due to a broken pipe, I ate a lot of pizza, which made me happy for short periods of time. Happiness is temporary. Sometimes we seek things that make us happy, when we should be seeking that which will bring us joy.
As far as I know, joy is only found in Jesus Christ. We are all sinners who deserve to be separated from God now and into eternity. Because of Jesus we can be united with God the Father now and forever. Because of Jesus, our sins can be forgiven and tossed into the sea of forgetfulness. Joy, however, is a choice. We must choose to believe that God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from having to pay the penalty for our sins. Our belief is what unites us with God for eternity. As we go about our lives experiencing things that make us happy alternated with things that do not, we can rest in the knowledge that there is only so much that this world can offer. Knowing that we will spend eternity with God is what gives us joy and peace. Joy, when we think of it this way, doesn't begin to compare to happiness. A day doing things that make us happy versus eternity with God who is good all the time—I’ll take the latter. What about you?
Thank you for reading!
Have a joyously blessed week!
Copyright 2018 Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.