I think it is safe to say, we live in a tired world. A world that has many thinking about how to keep a sustaining happiness. Recently, someone asked me, “Do you think it is wrong to chase after happiness?”
As I began to think, I answered him, “No, I think it is good to seek happiness. But how long do you wish to be happy for? If the answer is forever, then we have some questions to answer.”
As I have begun to grow up, there are certain memories that I love to go back to. I think of a specific time, sitting in Zion National Park with my good friend, Corrie, watching the sun hit the mountains as it rose. I thought to myself, “I wish I could replay this scene over and over.” But the reality of it, is that I can’t. It’s a feat that is made impossible by the strange concept of time.
So one may ask, “If I can’t keep up the euphoria that I have in the best moments of life, then what am I looking forward to?”
This is a valid question. First, the journey of life, in and of itself, should be a road to glory. Every year life should be getting better, not because of our circumstance, but because of our maturing perspective. A healthy perspective is an eternal perspective. One that is focused on the connection we have between the current moment and the future. Second, we have our hope rooted in the good news. The news that God is not mad at me and he wants to know me. There is nothing better.
However, it is a mistake to ignore that life contains suffering, in which we are meant to take joy. It is impossible to find joy in an experience of suffering without first knowing the reason why suffering is important. The reason is that suffering builds up our character, and character strengthens our assurance of salvation. Which is the bridge between this world and the next.
Lately, I have been thinking of the end of the movie, A River Runs Through It. In the final scene, the main character, Norman, is seen in the waters of the Blackfoot River, a place where he grew up. Since the days of his youth, his brother and father have both passed on and Norman utters these words…
“All those I loved and misunderstood in my youth are gone, but I still reach out to them.”
When I hear those words I get emotional. Those words tell the story of many, including me. If I am not careful, I will find myself looking in the future for something that has happened in the past. The moment that I had with my friend Corrie at Zion National Park is over. I can go back to Zion at sunrise but Corrie will have changed and the experience I attempt to simulate will not match the original. That is why this simple phrase can change your perspective on happiness…
“Life is ahead of us.”– Pascal
So is it wrong to seek happiness? Absolutely not. But where do you think happiness comes from? If you think that true joy is in our circumstances, then you would be deceived. Happiness is found in our ever changing perspective. Some people have found perspectives based on the minute, some on the hour, some are rooted in finances, others on personal success, but the honest answer is that these mindsets are too small.
If you truly want to be happy, set your mind on things above the sun. There we find the inner workings of the eternal God.
9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. – Ecclesiastes 1:9-10