Happiness, and growing up. Happiness, Part 3.
Creation is too logical, too ordered to doubt whether it had a Designer. From the right amount of gravitational pull to the ordering of the cosmos, from the temperature of the sun to the earth spinning on its axis, it makes most sense to believe that indeed God created the heavens and the earth1, and as he said, it was very good2. He went on to make the crown of his creation - human beings in his image.3. What precision in constructing the miraculous human eyeball, what delicate care in forming the parts of a tiny baby in her mother’s womb, sustaining her in fluid until fully formed, then supplying sustenance for the offspring to the mother’s breast . . . only God. How did we get here? We were lovingly created by God.
Our subject is happiness and the pursuit of it.
Day one: Happiness, anyone? Link: https://conta.cc/34Q6KM4
Day two: Happiness? Of course. Link: https://conta.cc/3txO91r
There will never be true happiness without God. C.S. Lewis said it so succinctly, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”4
Often when I write, I have a person or a couple people in mind. Right now I picture two little blonde heads, each about four years old, arms around each other’s necks on a sunny Fourth of July celebration on our street. The two grew up together, playing with the other neighborhood boys by the hour--there was street hockey, skateboarding, tricks on our trampoline, sleepovers and hundreds of beach days. Neither doubted they were made by God, neither questioned they were loved by God, and it was good.
And then the boys grew up and now find themselves thousands of miles apart pursuing different things, and the world is not near so simple. You see at two years, then three, then eight, then 13 and even 16 years old, the competing voices for truth, and what it is, were limited. Life became less good.
But in the secular university setting? Fuhgeddaboudit. You’re an idiot if you believe that God stuff . . . and you don’t mention Jesus ‘round here (unless you’re cursing), or you’re some kind of fanatic. The Bible? Please. Some outdated, ancient text passed down, obviously with many errors. Who could put any stock in that? Don’t be ridiculous. And it was not good at all.
The discussion about how our universities began peddling such rhetoric is for another moment, but one does not have to look far to see that secular humanism - a godless way of looking at the world - is the only view that is accepted in academia and for that matter in our popular media and other spheres of influence. Uncertain of where truth lies or how it fits into their lives, if the two men were asked about the source of truth, they would say they just don’t know.
What’s worse, they aren’t even sure how much absolute truth matters. But here’s the thing - we all live our lives based on something, whether or not we realize it or can define that something. How do these young men construct meaning in their very different lives? Is it simply by the college degree attained, the number of followers on Instagram or the current job they hold? As long as the friend group is lively, there are a few girls around, some pursuit of fun and a form of athletic competition, the old top just keeps spinning. But all tops run out of energy and topple, usually spinning even more wildly before they grind to a halt.
How do the young men order their lives?
First foundational piece is knowing that they are created by God, made in his image, stamped in his likeness. Second foundation stone is knowing they are meant for relationship with Him, the Creator and Author of life. And God did not just spin them out to figure it all out on their own - no, he gave them a guide to truth, wisdom, life, meaning and eternity, the Bible.
Huh . . . Dang, where are their Bibles now?
Prompted by a random, fleeting thought, one thinks, ‘Damn, it has been a long time since I have read a Bible or prayed by my bed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”5 Yeah, that was from the Bible, yeah, it was. That felt good, but that was when I was a kid.’
Truth: The Word of God tells us how we got here and what we are meant to become.
Could we go back to soon after God created, you know, recorded in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis? You see after God created Adam and Eve, he went down and walked and talked with them in the garden.6 What are the implications of such a picture? That is how it was meant to be - relationship with God, upclose, personal and relational.
Besides a one-on-one loving relationship with him, we are meant for relationship with one another. Remember when Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment? He said, ‘love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength…and love your neighbor as yourself.'7 Out of relationship with God, we are gifted to serve others.
What a different lens through which to see the world!
The pressure of becoming a self-made man falls away from the two young men. ‘You mean it is not my first priority to get followers on Instagram? Not my first priority to land the perfect job right out of college? Not my driving force to pursue any physical pleasure within my reach?’ No, no - rather it is seeking to know God, his heart, his ways, his wisdom, loving and serving. It is trusting God to lead each day - in all ways. And in so doing is life abundant!8
Reminds me of this great song, Voice of Truth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwsvqVmFV6Y
Keep it good - keep it simple. . . follow God!
1 - Genesis 1.1
2 - Genesis 1.31
3 - Genesis 1.27
4 - Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
5 - Psalm 19.14
6 - Genesis 3.8-9
7 - Mark 12.30-31
8 - John 10.10