The Happy Rock
November 17, 2013
Where do I go to find the Happy Rock? It seems all of the world is searching for happiness. When you are fighting sad thoughts or bouts of depression the one thing we seem to want is happiness.
Several years ago I was in a marriage of thirty plus years that, at times had been working so well it seemed. Our lives revolved around our faith and we gave of our time in gratitude to serve in various projects and assignments. All seemed to go so well and we would probably label those as our "happy" years.
So how did we end up not speaking to each other? How did we end up battling depression, both of us, at the same time? I can remember standing in the kitchen in tears and saying, "All I want is to be happy." And his response was, "Don't expect me to make you happy. You go find happy wherever you want. Go to Nashville. Go see friends, etc...etc..etc." I was so shocked by his response that in the weeks that followed I discovered a cartoon in a magazine and tore it out. It was a little girl sitting on Santa's lap and he said,"Don't look at me to make you happy!"
I can remember searching in vain for "happiness" for over two years to stop the endless fear, pain, tears and exhaustion I felt. Toward the end, before I finally left home, I remember saying to myself, "There is no happiness for me. It's simply gone and belongs to someone else." Slowly I began opening up my sealed vault of faith and renewing my connection to God through little prayers of begging. God, please, get me through this!" "God, please help me sleep tonight!" "God please help me find my way!" I no longer even asked for "happy" believing it belonged to others but not myself. I could not tell you how I had ended up in such a dire, hopeless place within my own home. I only knew I had arrived.
This morning I was reading from my copy of "Christianity 101: Romans: Understanding God's Grace and Power". The emphasis was on the fifth chapter of Romans. And one of those "HEllllooooooo" moments struck me. The authors were suggesting that the reason we often turn to faith is to find happiness in our lives. We reach a point of discontent from running ourselves into a ditch and we decide to try going to church or reading the Bible or talking to a friend whose faith is far stronger than our own. We seem to need to be in a mess before we turn to God. Over time I have learned how almost ridiculous that sounds to "turn to God". The truth is He created us. He never left us. He never abandoned us. He resides in our hearts, minds and souls. So where's He been while I was living through Hell on Earth? Well, the truth is, I locked my heart down to His whispers. I closed the vault that offered me peace, grace, comfort, consolation and hope. I decided to run my own ship. "I have got this one!", I boldly announced to God. I stopped praying. I stopped thanking Him for the endless gifts I had. How arrogant of me to never acknowledge Him and to claim I was a Christian! We had a four bedroom home with four bathrooms in an elegant neighborhood within walking distance of the beautiful bay. I had two amazing children and three adopted pets. I had a teaching job filled with so much joy. Did I think to thank God? No, I did not!
Who ran our marriage of 32 years into the ditch? We did with our shutting God out of our home by ignoring His endless gifts and assuming we could "handle" it. So I learned the hard way that in the absence of God, all Hell breaks lose in a million different ways. I was in two car wrecks within a year. My hair began to fall out until I was bald over one-third of my head. I was physically ill and working on being mentally ill as well. My husband was doing no better. I would like to tell you that we found God and all worked out happily ever after, but it did not. The train wreck we created was so monumental that we closed another door, on our marriage.
This morning I read that God never promised us happiness anywhere in the Bible. He promised that we would face trials and tribulation, heartache and loss, disappointment and fears. Now that does not mean if we proclaim God as our creator we can plan on a boatload of misery. That is not the case. We are going to face all of those whether we are believers are we close the vault door to a relationship with God. It is going to happen. The difference in living in an active faith is that what we do when hardships come. You know, the ones that feel like gigantic rip tides dragging us farther out to sea? We can do like I chose to do and become deeply fearful to the point of it attacking my health and destroying my home. Or we can turn to God in great times and sing praises to His name. We can claim our faith in a simple way. We believe Christ was born, he lived a life filled with examples of how to live, he suffered a horrible death though innocent and He rose again. We can cling to the hope and promise of our salvation which says in spite of our sinful nature that leads us into messes and confusion all the time, God says we are forgiven and sends us out to share our faith, not through pushing our faith on others, but by kind and decent and good acts. In those tiny moments, when we feel that nudge to do something good, we are given a chance to actually experience the love of God. Sometimes it is so amazing that we feel sheer joy. We are surprised by our own actions which are difficult to explain. We feel all choked up to the verge of tears. And why do we go through all those physical changes? We are close to God and we feel God's love.
There is no Happy Rock. We can search for it until our last breath and we will never find "Happy". What we can find is a life of praise, a life of believing, a life of learning patience when those rip tides threaten to drag us far out to sea and finally a life time of tiny moments when we open our heart so wide in doing something good and unexpected that we feel God's love. I no longer search for the Happy Rock. I think finally, after sixty-three years of life and a wagon load of experience, I can safely say, the best life for anyone is a life in Christ. When happiness comes at Christmas and birthdays and surprises like my daughter flying in to see me on Mother's Day and keeping it a total secret I will thank God for my happiness for He is good.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for teaching this slow learner that I cannot create lasting happiness on earth for myself. Thank You for speaking to me through the books I am studying and Your Holy Word. Thank You for those absolutely amazing moments when I walk away from a tiny good deed that you have lead me to experience and I walk away with tears on my cheek knowing I have felt You right here with me. I have felt Your love. Amazing Grace! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.
In Jesus' Name,