Happiness all the time.
Boy, wouldn’t that be nice?
Every day, every minute, happy?
Yeah, I could get used to that.
Unfortunately, that’s not possible (sorry to burst your bubble). Happy all the time just isn’t, a thing.
And ya know what else? It wasn’t even a thing for Jesus.
Jesus felt allllllll the emotions. He was human! He was here! He felt! Of course He was happy, He loved, had compassion, joy, strength, and all the positive feels. But we forget that He also cried, got sad, got angry, He grieved, He groaned, He was frustrated, alone, He begged, He bled, He suffered.
And when you think about it, if Jesus never felt such a wide spectrum of emotion, how could He ever connect personally and individually with such a wide spectrum of people? God did that on purpose. He designed His son to be someone we could relate to—intimately, on every level, not just the happy one. If Jesus was happy all the time, who would ever feel confident going to Him with a trial, a pain, a need? And the same goes for us—our range of experiences lets us connect with a slew of different people so that we can lead anyone to Christ.
One of the biggest misconceptions about followers of Christ is that we’re positive all the time. That we don’t suffer, we just smile through life with rainbows and sunshine because we’re so sacred and Jesus-y and light. And yes, our lives are beyond blessed because of the Lord, but it ain’t no cake walk. That’s not how God designed it. He designed it so we’d have reasons to turn to Him.
One of my favorite quotes (an Arab proverb) supports this. It says: “Sunshine all the time makes a desert.” In other words, happiness all the time—brace yourself—isn’t even good for us.
We’re taught to be content (satisfied, at peace, “okay”) in whatever state we find ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to feel happy wherever we are in life. We’re meant, at times, to face trials. We’re meant, at times, to face opposition. We’re meant, at times, to suffer. (Talk about a hard pill to swallow.)
Because if we never knew suffering, how would we know joy? If we never knew evil, how would we know good? If we never knew down, how would we know up? If we never got lost, how could we be found? If we never had a reason to rely on Jesus, well, why would we?
In 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1, verses 4, 9, and 11, Paul points out three reasons why we suffer:
Verse 4 says, “Blessed be God …who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Verse 9 says, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead.”
Verse 11 says, “Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”
Okay, now for the 2022 version. We suffer because:
- It lets us be able to comfort others who go through the same stuff we do.
- It helps us surrender our problems, worries, and fears into God’s hands because ultimately HE is in control, not us.
- And it teaches us to thank God in every situation, no matter how hard. It brings us that much closer to Him.
So when I feel like happiness is far away, I try to think: maybe it’s far because God’s trying to get close. Maybe I’m gaining something from this trial that I couldn’t possibly gain by sittin’ pretty in a place called Happy. Maybe everywhere outside Happy is where the spiritual meat is.
And I’m not saying to never be happy or to never aim for happy. I’m saying remove the pressures the world puts on us to be happy all the time. To be Instagram-smiley all the time. To be hopeful all the time. Some days I just want to fall into Jesus’ arms and rest my weary mind. And I’m learning that’s okay. He wants us to run to Him. That’s why He’s there. So consider this your permission to feel. Bring Jesus on your emotional roller coaster and let Him give you purpose through the highs, the lows, and every loop-de-loop in between. I hear He’s an experienced rider.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.