So here’s one of those passages I memorized as a young Christian:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 5b-6
I had a friendship end recently. It was a friendship that brought me a whole lot of happiness and one that addressed the loneliness I often feel – since we moved to a new city and I still don’t have a consistent posse, then my husband/best friend died, and on top of that, I’ve got the top dog responsibility at work (and at home, with two girls). Uh, it’s lonely at the top.
So, naturally I wondered if God just isn’t out to rob me of happiness! The 10 years before I got this calling that I love, I had to take over as the breadwinner for my out-of-work husband and did so with jobs that weren’t all that peachy. It was not a fun time.
So, God, isn’t it MY turn?
Then of course I come across this passage. I know there’s got to be something wrong with my thinking.
I need to renew my mind.
I mean Scripture makes it clear that God is my loving father who wants what’s best for me – and the Cross obviously proves it – but sometimes I just need to know that God wants my happiness as much as my holiness.
So I found this web site (Soul Shepherding) that lists all these verses about the Father’s love. I’ll share those that meant the most to me (All Bible verses are from the NIV84 unless indicated otherwise.):
- “A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” (Psalm 68:5-6)
- “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11) (It’s how you define Good Gifts!)
- “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him… But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:20b, 22-24)
- “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, `Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)
- “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us…. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his [children].” (Ephesians 1:3-5)
- “Now to [the Father] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
- “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)
- And of course, I could add Hebrews 12: 1-11 to this list…
I know in my head that happiness is ultimately found in my relationship with Jesus – He’s the Holiday at Sea. But sometimes I don’t want to be so heavenly minded. Sometimes I just want happiness here and now, in the flesh.
But it is what it is and right now, the circumstances haven’t changed. So I need to renew my mind by focusing on the truth that my heavenly father really DOES want what’s best for me along with my eternal happiness – and knows both what will make me happy and how to give it to me.
Oh, and I had a good time today walking the dogs and hanging with my daughter – moments of happiness!
Dear Lord: I am not there yet. Still struggling. But You know how to help me find my happiness ultimately in You. Help me. Amen.