MEDITATION AND THOUGHT
The question that has been asked throughout the ages is: ‘How can I find happiness?’
C.S. Lewis made the following comments:
“Longings for intimacy, peace, security, happiness, and freedom drive our thoughts and actions.” Lewis points out that God gives us these desires as signposts to lead us to the only place we can find fulfillment.
He says: “..even things such as a godly marriage or a lovely vacation – nothing ever is all we hope it will be.”
He points out that while our desires easily accept false idols, they just as quickly overturn them when we realize that the whole point of this wild goose chase is to see that this great “something” is beyond the physical world.
Some of these thoughts are captured in Psalm 31.
In this Psalm, David speaks both of his confidence in God, as well as his anguish.
When I first read the Psalm I thought to myself: David takes us on a journey from anguish to assurance; from sadness to being safe.
However, I then realized that as Christians, we can be in anguish and have assurance at the same time, be sad and feel safe at the same time, which led me to the question:
‘What is the way to happiness.’
Now there are many answers to this question, and many are very helpful, however, here in the Psalm as is the case in many Psalms, the psalmist says we can be happy, even when we are sad.
He begins the first section of the Psalm by saying:
‘In you Lord, I have taken refuge’ (verse 1)
‘You are my rock and my fortress’ (verse 3)
‘Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me Lord, the God of truth.’ (verse 5)
In the second section of the Psalm, he says:
‘Be merciful to me Lord for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning..” (verses 9 & 10)
Then in the third section of the Psalm, he says:
‘Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love..’ (verse 21)
The psalmist calls us to see the Lord as our refuge and our strength; our rock and our fortress, and to confidently commit ourselves into the hands of the merciful one who redeems us.
And to do so in the midst of anguish; in the midst of sadness; in the midst of affliction; in the midst of guilt. And as we do that, to praise God for his God’s goodness and his wonderful love.
This means that happiness is not found only when sadness and anguish disappear, but happiness is found when in the midst of anguish and sadness; we feel safe, secure and loved.
And as C.S. Lewis argues, ultimately it is only God who can make us feel safe, secure and loved,
because it was the Lord Jesus Christ who prayed the prayer of verse 5
on the cross: ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’
He did not pray: Get me out of here; deliver me from the cross !
In His sadness and anguish, He joyfully gave up His life for us; to redeem us and rescue us from judgment, (hence He is our refuge), and to experience His wonderful love.
Thus we can be safe, secure and loved and know happiness, in the midst of our afflictions.
IF we know Christ.
Oh lord please forgive me when I seek to find happiness, pleasure and satisfaction in the idols of the world.
Please help me to rest in the security, safety and love that you give through Christ, may I grasp that I can know, and experience these things in the midst of sadness and anguish.
Grant me happiness, and fulfillment in Christ.
May I find the safe refuge of God in the sad griefs of life. Amen
PRAYER POINTS for WEDNESDAY: