Friday, May 15, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

by Stephanie Neibarger

This Week's Verse: Psalm 84:5, "Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who want above all else to follow your steps." (TLB)

About a month ago, while covering a soccer match in 40 degree weather, a bunch of us were huddled together under blankets and layers of clothing trying to stay warm. I heard one friend say “I’ll be happy when it warms up!”

I replied, “Ya know, in a month we will be complaining that it’s too hot!” And sure enough, on a nice 70 degree day, I heard one of them say “Man,- it’s hot out here!”

Why is it that we are never happy? Why is it that we have our own set of standards as to what it is to be happy. In Ecclesiastes 11:4 it says “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

I’ll be happy when… I’ll be happy when I get married. I’ll be happy when it stops raining. I’ll be happy when the weather warms up. I’ll be happy when I get that promotion at work. Sound familiar? Why is our happiness determined by our circumstances? Happiness is not defined by our circumstances but trusting God with our circumstances. Be happy now, knowing God is in control.

Chuck Swindoll once said that “Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it.” How we react to life often determines our level of happiness.

I had a friend from my church back in Iowa who was battling cancer (he has since lost that battle). One rainy Sunday morning while giving the communion meditation, he said “Just because you can’t see it, the sun is still shining.” He knew that life was not determined by his present circumstances. He knew there were better days ahead. He chose to stay positive in the midst of his circumstances.

You may be having some ‘rainy days’ but just remember – the Son is still shining!

Lord, help me to remember that no matter how dark my situation may become, You are the light of my life and can never be put out. No matter what dark clouds settle on my life, You will lift me above the storm and into the comfort of Your presence. Only You can take whatever loss I experience and fill that empty place with good. Only You can take the burden of my grief and pain and dry my tears. I am desperately aware of how much I need Your power to transform me and my circumstances. Help me to remember to give thanks to You in all things, knowing that You reign in the midst of them. (From Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Woman.)

Learn to be happy no matter where you are or what the circumstances may be. Put your trust in God and in his timing, you will reap a harvest of blessings. (Galatians 6:9)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful." (TLB)
Hebrews 13:5, "Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.'" (TLB)
Eccles. 3:1, "There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season." (NCV)
Eccles. 3:12, "I know there is nothing better for men than to be happy and to do good as long as they live."(NLB)
Prov 16:20 b, "Whoever trusts in the Lord will be happy."(NCV)


Melissa Milbourn said...

great devo friend, and funny, I just read that Ecc verse for the first time earlier today (or I guess that would be yesterday, since it's 12:38am now.)

Kathy said...

I am one who is always thinking, "If I can just get past this..." or always looking ahead to the next thing. It's a daily battle. Thankd for the perspective and the reminder to just be happy in the process and knowing God's in ALL of it.

Marsha said...

Learning to bask in the glory of the Son... Thanks!

Sara Boyer said...

Thanks for the Devo Steph! I needed to hear that right now!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Thank you!