I always squirm when people – whether pastors, friends, authors – say that God does not care about our happiness. On some level, I believe this. I suppose it boils down to my belief that God is more interested in my character and my heart than any feeling I may have. Especially if that feeling tends to be of the fleeting nature. Happiness can be fleeting.
Yet, I also wonder how God could not care. He put Adam and Eve in this beautiful locale, surrounded by all they needed, and I imagine they were not only happy, but content and fulfilled. And even with the birth of sin, when God goes about cursing this and that… I still see that he provides a way to happiness. Eve became a mother, so there must have been happiness in watching the children run through the fields and look in wonder at the stars. It may have lasted but a moment, but it must have been a happy moment.
I know the old argument about joy versus happiness. I am not going to try to define them, but I will give my opinion. Joy is that state of existence that is rooted in knowing the truth and knowing “it’s all good,” to steal the slang saying. Happiness seems to be a little more shallow, and based primarly on the feeling of being pleased. I wonder if joy has less to do with our circumstances and more to do with our choices in those circumstances, whereas happiness has more to do with feeling good right now because of a particular situation or object.
So today I’m chatting with a friend about being happy and she says that she really thinks that God would want me to be happy. And the first thing I do is argue. I argue because I have been sold this line about God not caring about my happiness. But then I wonder: if God made this feeling, why in the world would he NOT care about my happiness?
I am not really happy right now. There’s a lot of stress in my life. Yet, I have joy. I have joy in knowing that God loves me and that I have been so blessed. But there are some things in my life that grieve me….and I’m sad. Not the kind of sit in my mucky muck all day. Just sad at situations. So does God care? I sure hope so. But even then, some say he is more interested in developing my character and giving me a better sense of who he wants me to be through the hardships.
As my friend and I discussed this, I could tell she wanted what was best for me. She wanted to make it better. She wanted me to find a way out of the sad situation. And I want that, too. Herein lies the dilemma. I want to be happy but I’m not sure that making quick decisions will bring about joy. And it is joy I am truly after.
I have no idea if this makes sense. Once again it is me processing on my little blog in my corner of cyberspace. But if you ever join me here, let me know what you think.