I’d be happier if my kids would… If my spouse would… If my in laws wouldn’t… If my boss didn’t… Our small group was participating in an exercise designed to help us identify wrong beliefs that cause us emotional pain and can lead us into unChrist-like behaviors. Is it true that if everyone acts as they ought to we’d all be happier? I think so, but that won’t happen before we get to Heaven. In the mean time if our happiness is dependent on the choices of others, anyone and everyone can rob us of our happiness.
Consider David. Wouldn’t he have been happier if when he was anointed king by Samuel, King Saul had said, “Let me mentor you and help prepare you to take over the kingdom.” Instead Saul tried to make shish kebobs out of David with his spear! The irony of this is that God used that time of fleeing from Saul to refine David into a great King and give us many of the Psalms.
Consider Joseph. Wouldn’t he have been happier if his ten brothers had been kind to him? But God used their cruelty to put Joseph in a place to develop character and leadership skills for the position God had for him to save many lives, including the line of Joseph’s and our savior!
Jealous leaders and cruel kinsmen could not thwart the plans God had for these men. In Joseph’s own words to his brothers, “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good,” (Genesis 50:20). Both Joseph and David prospered in their adverse circumstances and their character shone as bright stars in a dark sky.
Parenthetically, David who made an A under the adversity test later failed the prosperity test. Could it be that the circumstances we resist are part of God’s tool to guard our eternal souls from some lasting loss? James 1:2-3 seems to say so.
This is not to say that everyone who annoys us is out to harm us. Usually that is not the case. They are not thinking of you at all! They are absorbed in their own worlds with their own issues. If God can turn intentional harm into good how much more can He work the everyday smaller irritations for our good if we let Him.
Sometimes we have to sever ties or at least put some distance between us and those who intend to harm us. David fled the castle when King Saul started throwing spears, and despite Saul’s words of repentance David didn’t return when there was no change in behavior. Other times we can’t leave as Joseph couldn’t leave slavery or jail until God released him. But wherever we find ourselves we always have choices on how we’ll respond.
*Remember God’s promise to never leave you and to be your helper through this. (Hebrews 13:5-6) “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”
*Pray with thanksgiving. (Philippians 4:5-7) In every circumstance thank God for His purpose, sovereignty, and care. Ask Him for wisdom, courage, perspective and faith. Thank God for using that person to accomplish His purpose in your life. Even Pharaoh had a purpose in God’s plan. (Romans 9:17)
*Renew your mind daily in God’s word and experience the transformation that proves God’s will is “good, acceptable and perfect”. (Romans 12:1-2)
*Walk Spirit filled. Instead of fretting over what we have no control over, exercise the fruit of the Spirit, which includes self-control (not spouse-control, child-control or any other-control).
God cares about our happiness and He knows best on how to help us attain lasting joy. May God grant us grace to trust Him as He uses people and circumstances to chisel out Christ’s character in us.
In His Joy,
*For Spiritual prosperity for those in our growth groups.
*For clients to be freed from tormenting thoughts
*For the addition of new Friends of Lighthouse
*For children to experience God’s security and love in spite of parents’ poor choices