Friday, May 06, 2005

Spiritual Formation through Desperation

Is it possible that God really doesn't want us to be happy?

People will justify all kinds of things they do because "I just know God wants me to be happy."

What if He doesn't?

What if He wants us to suffer? To be challenged? To give up things we want in order to seek the things He wants for us? To grow?

What if He wants us to die to self and the goal of our own happiness?

Would we become people after God's own heart - like the penitent King David after his murderous adultery? Would we have a deeper understanding of Christ's sacrifice if we made a few sacrifices of our own? Would we appreciate what it's like to be despised and rejected if we suffer some of it for ourselves?

If that's not in store for us, then why does Jesus offer the reassurance of the Beatitudes?

Wouldn't the happiness that's in store for us with Him forever be worth a few moments of unhappiness here and now?

I can't forget what one of my roommates in college said while we were discussing the spiritual "thing" of the moment back then: "Mountaintop experiences are overrated. It's when I'm in the valleys - in the very pits - that God lifts my face."

I think he was on to something.


Greg Taylor said...

Yes, indeed, he was onto something . . . Remember the Amy Grant song, "Love to live on a mountain top . . . but I must come down from that mountain top . . . "

Denise McEwen said...

Some good thoughts. I don't know if it is a matter of symantics, but here are my two cents: It seems that pleasure is fleeting because it produces good feelings in the moment, but sadness once the event is gone and one realizes they must experience the event to get the good feelings again. I think happiness is fleeting because one has the good feelings after an accomplishment, but sadness upon the realization one has to engage in another work of accomplishment to get the good feeling again.

Then there is joy. It is rooted in the knowledge of God, whether we feel Him or not. It goes with us in the valleys to keep us focused on our Hope, and stays with us in our highs to remind us the mountaintop is temporary. It is an ever present sign that our God is. I choose joy.