C. S. Lewis said, “There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious” (The Last Battle). Our hope with this series of devotionals has been that you would take the pursuit of happiness seriously while wondering why we often content ourselves with mud pies when God is offering us filet mignon.
Not that God’s Word needs validation from mere mortals, but I thought I would end this series with some personal affirmations of my experiences with His truths.
Battling loneliness for most of my life has led me to treasure words like: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
I once feared a world spinning out of control, but can vouch for the comfort of: “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust” (Isaiah 40:14). He is in control.
When politics blurs my vision, I remember: “For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28, NKJV). It doesn’t matter who’s in office; a good God is over all. “He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning” (Daniel 2:21). The all-wise God puts whomever He wants in power.
If I feel the need for control, this comes to mind: “To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 1:25). He can have the power! I don’t want to be re-sponsible for the world!
Having been a Hindu/Humanist/Health Food Freak/Roman Catholic/Christian Scientist/Atheist/Agnostic and student of Jewish culture in ages past, I can affirm with certainty: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35). Only Christ satisfies that emptiness.
As a remorseful college dropout, I can run to these verses for encouragement: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). All the book-learning in the world does not prepare one to live life to the full, to enjoy it the way God planned.
When jealousy strikes, I can be humbled by these thoughts: “‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24). Being in fellowship with the Lord and seeking after goodness, using the resources He has supplied to serve oth-ers, provides the greater riches of a clean conscience and fulfill-ment.
I have been laid off from, fired from, downsized and upended from, and quit, more jobs than most people, but these experiences taught me to rely on this promise: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV). I have no monetary anxieties whatsoever.
Business is king these days. It’s all about how you can conduct business while flying, driving, floating in a pool, shopping, showering, neglecting your family, and cheating the government. Jesus rebukes this shortsightedness in the parable of the man whose focus was on his business: “Then (the rich man) said, ‘This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:18-21).
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 24, 25). I hope you’re happy!
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