Bliss…happiness is not a word that you hear much about when you grow up in an evangelical church. It’s not something to be sought or chased in any way. In fact, the opposite of bliss: suffering, is more likely to be associated with godliness…with being like Christ.
And so, because it is our human nature to do so, it’s often encouraged to talk about the things that you’ve suffered and to be silent about the things that have made you…dare I even say it: happy.
While it’s true that nothing can “make” you happy, to simply act like there are not things that encourage feelings of happiness is not only illogical, but to deny the blessings of God as well.
I’ve been aware, for most of my life, of the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is determined by your circumstances…it’s fluid, while joy is a constant…a supernatural ability to feel the peace of God even during the darkest of hours. However, I believe that we’ve done a disservice to people when we insinuate that God wants us to have supernatural joy, but He cares nothing about our emotions…our happiness.
If He truly didn’t care about our emotional well-being – even to the point of how often we smile – then why would He bother giving us joy during our trials and peace in the midst of life’s storms?
Are we just pawns to show His supernatural power, or are all of His laws and even all of His creation in existence because of His great love for us – for even the minutest detail of our lives?
When we look at the life of Christ, can we see the heart of God surrounding this question? I believe we can.
Of course, as with all things, it depends on your perspective…and isn’t that what it all comes down to…the state of our minds?
Jesus was only on the Earth for a short time, and everything He did, He did intentionally. There is a reason why He chose to teach the disciples about faith by playing with children – why He chose to teach Martha about what really matters by sitting and visiting with His followers (even when there was “so much to do”) – why He chose to find the beauty in the woman’s offering of the perfume poured out on His feet.
While we are not placed on Earth to chase after happiness and pleasure, for their own sake – that is Hedonism – we are taught in Scripture not just to recognize or to glance at the wonderful and lovely things around us, but to actually focus on them…
to fix our minds on them.
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)
Think about them.
Meditate on them.
It’s not about chasing the things that bring us happiness because the truth is that we don’t have to! Beautiful blessings are all around us…from the sunshine to a baby’s laugh…from the color of a tree frog to the power of the ocean. Even the tiniest thing that brings a smile to our face can be “bliss”…
if only we will see them.
What a wonderful world this would be if every person just walked around looking for the blessings of God in everything.
I could write for days about the things that I’ve walked through in my life; I could talk for hours about how it feels to be a victim…or even a “survivor”; I could make you feel sympathy, or perhaps pity, for the sufferings that I’ve endured,
But what would that accomplish? Instead, if I only could say one thing about how to live the best life you possibly can, I would just tell you to see all that God has done in every moment and be filled with gratefulness…joy…and, yes, even happiness because of it.
God cares about our happiness when we are simply reflecting back to Him the things that make Him smile.
I pray that you notice all of the beautiful bliss we’ve been surrounded by today…and every day.