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Pastor's Corner: Considering happiness

Cheboygan Daily Tribune
Cheboygan Daily Tribune
 2021-11-19
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Have you ever given much thought to the difference between the words “joy” and “happiness?”

I consider myself an amateur writer, having been published several times, and just love words with all their nuances. As I thought about it, it seems to me, that happiness is a lighter word than joy ... and comes from the root word of happen.

You could call it happen-ness. If good stuff is happening in your life, you are happy. If not, you are not! Whereas joy seems to have a deeper resonance, and I firmly believe, a deeper meaning.

Being a retired pastor I consider the Bible to be my life’s instruction manual. There is a verse in the book of Romans that says in part: “... And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God …”

Notice, it doesn’t say that all things ARE good, just that they all can work together to bring about good in your life if your heart and attitude are in tune with God’s will for you.

I remember a time when I was not happy. My wife was living downstate with my daughter temporarily to be closer to medical treatment. I was not a happy man because she left in the middle of December and wouldn’t be home until the middle of May. It was a four-hour trip so I could only visit every three weeks or so to sit with her during chemo treatments, and otherwise needed stay here to keep the home fires burning. Her doctors had assured her that she should have a positive long-lasting outcome when the treatment was completed. They were right, it has been over eight years … no cancer. Thank God.

But nonetheless even then, my joy was secure because she was in God’s hands, and He brought her through it and good out of it. The examples of good from this not good event are many:

  • I was reminded again just how important she is to me after now 58 years of marriage.
  • I was reminded how mundane activities once taken for granted are important, like our evening walks; our favorite TV shows shared; our talking over the day’s events
  • How important that 130 pound lovely lump on the other side of the bed was every night.
  • I was reminded again that life is terminal for all of us, so we need to enjoy it to the fullest while we can; don’t put stuff off; do the bucket list ahead of time.
  • A cancer support group which did not exist in our county until my wife organized it and has now been in charge for seven years.

But in all of this my joy in life, my joy of life, and my joy for life remained intact because it was and is anchored in a deep abiding faith in God who IS in control.

We all need to savor the happiness that comes into our lives.

Some we create, some just happens serendipitously.

But most important of all, we need to be sure to anchor the core of our life in the deep joy that only God can provide. A joy that will take you through the challenging times in life that are coming, beyond any doubt.

Major John Morrison of The Salvation Army can be reached at johnjuanitamorrison@gmail.com.

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