He Is (at 32:45)

Old notes taken mostly from my personal time with God. We're moving house again, so, I guess we're back to being, literally, pilgrims on the Rough Roads of Planet Earth. (Photo taken on a road to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, North Auckland, NZ, Dec 2009.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happiness and Joy

Dated 31 July 2011


Whatever is going on in your.... (brain); 89...(0); chicken ten... (ders); see Imo...(gen); Pass by Lincoln... (Heights); Barney's Great Adven...(ture); "Parade of Num...(bers)"; And so pull your hair now!; Sky... (High); I have fun making pooh...(pooh) - some of my conversations with my younger daughter. Of course, my replies are the ones in parentheses. :)))))

Yup, it's Sunday evening and it's the weekend after my 50th birthday. Do I feel old? No, I'm young at heart. hahahaaa!!! But yes, I am old and getting even older each day. It's kind of cool being old, really. :) For one thing, you don't have to worry about looking old because you just look your age. bwahaaa!! The day before my b-day my children and I attended Wednesday evening church and that felt good because I never could bring my teens to church with me on Sunday mornings because they can't wake up in time. Well, my younger daughter made her usual noise of : "What time is it over?" (Yeah, constantly asking what time the church would be over and we had to keep shhhh, shhhh-ing her.) But we made it to church!

Then on my birthday I had to rush getting her fed and washed so I could be on time for my driving lesson. I was praying I wouldn't make the same mistakes in my previous lesson (on the Monday when we just got back from our Poconos trip and I didn't have enough sleep!). I wanted it to go well badly because I wouldn't want it to go down in history that I had a slight skirmish on the road on my 50th b-day!! Thank the Lord, I didn't. The lesson went well. My teacher said I am now allowed, based on his assessment, to drive without him (but by law it is required I drive with someone who has a license and we don't have a car yet for me to practice on, anyway). I'm really glad I am able to keep on the right side of the road now (not the left) and when my instructor says turn left (or right), I actually turn on my signal lights instead of the wind-shield wiper!!! bwahaaaa.... It was confusing and daunting the first time I went on the road here because of that disorientation.

And then I had this great urge to shop and cook but am glad I resisted that. And we didn't have to go out for dinner either out of compulsion, just because there was an occasion. If my husband were around we usually do that and we end up in the Chinese restaurant and my children and I are quite sick of Chinese food. Phew, I'm glad that didn't happen on my 50th b-day!!!! (Probably God's gift for me on my special day. LOL!!!!) And so, I had all the time to go online and reply to all my birthday greetings. I don't know exactly how many but it's safe to say it's close to a hundred. And I do reply individually, because they greeted me individually. If they took time to greet me personally I have to take time to reply to them personally.

I also thanked them all for "celebrating" my b-day with me by posting the link below. Many did appreciate that because it brought a lot of memories back for them. They say it's a great oldie, and so do I. For people my age this song would definitely bring back lots of memories. I was only in primary school when it was a hit in my country, so, for me, it brings memories of early morning rides on the "jeep" (public transpo) to school, in my school uniform, passing by the vast rice fields, with the wind in my face... while the "jeep's" sound system blares this song out loud. :) Cool. Precious and few were the moments I spent with my friends and family - who are now so far away from me - at one time or another in the past 50 years. So, I dedicated this song to them.

Then I cleaned the house on Friday and on Friday night my older daughter and I couldn't find a good tv show to watch and it was raining outside! Thank God for the rain, because I didn't have to water the plants and it was a cool night. And then I realized just how isolated I am from friends, I didn't even have anyone to talk with! Phew!

That brought to mind one of my favourite verses: "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, ..." Phil. 1:3 I am thankful for all my true friends, indeed,... but that night I really wished I could talk with them as they are all so far away from me.  And I guess I would say, "You know, my life can be sooo miserable but whenever you talk with me I feel like everything's alright again and I get this peace that I can't find with anyone else...." (Strange, I know. But I think only God could have given me that kind of friend.)


I have been negotiating with God and I have asked Him, "Dad,
can I have happiness too, besides joy?" Seems a simple thing to ask but I
probably am asking to have my cake and eat it, too.

Since the time I became a Christian at age 22 I had noticed
that in the Bible there is no account of Jesus laughing / chuckling/ smiling.
There are accounts of him getting angry, frustrated, sad, even weeping. I get
the feeling that Jesus was a very sober and serious person. Well, when you have
the project "Dethrone Satan and Save Humanity" set before you, and you're surrounded with a bunch of helpers who don't have a clue about what's going on, nor understand the gravity of the outcome, you won't
really have the heart to banter, would you??

I struggle over the word "joy". Like in this verse: "...make Yahweh your
only joy and he will give you what your heart desires." (Psalm 37:4 The Jerusalem Bible)

Or this verse:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face
trials of many kinds, because you know
that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." (James 1:2,3, NIV)

It's as if God is concerned only with us having joy, not happiness. Well, happiness is something bubbly, short-lived and it usually comes easy (no price to pay). The trouble with happiness is, it hardly stays
around. It evaporates the moment the conditions that brought it have changed.
And then sadness takes over. And then you can have happiness again only because
you know what sadness is like. Happiness is always coupled with sadness, for we
can't appreciate one without the other.

Joy is something deep and steady. As believers we know what
that is :The inner peace that comes with being in the will of God. It's not
ebullient, it's not a high or a low, it just is. It can actually be boring. I
think that's the reason we want happiness (at least for me) over joy. It's
exciting! And I believe happiness comes from God, too, and it's a good thing.
But just because it's a good thing doesn't mean we can have it, all the time,
or the way we want it. Actually, sometimes I think God purposely withholds
certain kinds of happiness from us simply because He has other plans for us.
God has taught me to think, "This kind of happiness may not be meant for me;
other kinds may be, but not this one." Or another way of looking at it is that God desires for us the excellence of joy rather than the mediocrity of happiness.

Ever wondered why people have to suffer? Why do parents have
to suffer watching a wayward kid continuing in his deviant ways, or why do children
get abused, or a loved one falls sick, suffers in pain, or a friend goes
through an abusive relationship, brokenness and divorce, and sometimes there's
really nothing much you can do to help them but pray? But when I think of Jesus, I kind of
understand. Now my 50th b-day is over and God seems to have answered
my question: "Why joy, Dad, why not happiness?" Jesus was hardly understood by
His friends, He prayed by Himself, and at the worst times of His life, was betrayed, abandoned and denied by His friends. He was helped by Simon of Cyrene, for a
while, to carry His cross, but on the whole, He actually went to Calvary alone. The angels watched in awe and silence, His friends and mother watched from a distance, even His Dad watched in silence in
Heaven, probably even thinking like David did when he cried at Absalom's death:
"If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Sam. 18:33) But Jesus had to go through it alone. Probably, that's what Jesus meant when He said: "Take up your cross and come
follow me." He meant it, literally. And you and I have to follow, alone.

Sometimes I wonder why I go through life alone. But when I
think of Jesus, … He was alone and it was His pure joy. Sometimes, we really have
to leave people alone, so God can have the free hand to perfect His will in
their lives. Man, it's no fun because I know what that means. The road to joy
is a lonely one and most of the time happiness has no place in it. It's so
difficult to set our gaze on the things above rather than the things below - it
is so lonely. And the reason God wants us to desire joy above happiness is just
that: He wants us to be focused on the things above. I tend to think that if
God makes everything happy and perfect for me here on Earth, I wouldn't look
forward to going to Heaven anymore. But our citizenship is in Heaven; He's
training us to set our minds on the things above. The road less traveled
always ends up to be the right one, after all. And the reason God can't give us both happiness and joy is because at times, happiness is opposed to the joy God has intended for us. And I think I heard Him say: "Don't make an idol out of happiness." Yesssss, that's what it is!

 ...Hmmm, as if I really got that figured out. Yeah, maybe one day, it will become crystal clear. As of now, I am content with this shadow... of things yet to come.

God bless you, my dear friends. :-)

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The Many Versions of Love Stories 1. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. They live happily ever after. 2. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. The marriage sours, they part, and live happily ever after. 3. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. Then boy finds out it's more fun to be girl... or girl finds out it's more fun to be boy, they part, change sexes and live happily ever after. 4.Finally, boy or girl meets God. It's love at first sight... The roads went rough, the tides rose high, the strong winds blew and the quake shook the ground... but they truly live happily ever after, forever and ever. 5. Try God's love... it's always happy forever after, and the story never ends. :-D