HAPPINESS, AN UNWORTHY GOAL

God’s got our happiness in mind. He has an eternity all planned out. It is impossible to dream about it in a way that could be close to its reality. It will far exceed our wildest imagination.

Meanwhile, this momentary experience on the earth gets us ready. We are called aliens and exiles. We don’t belong here. Most earth-dwellers figure this is all she wrote and are desperately trying to make the most of it. They wonder why we are not joining the rat race. They think we are strange for restraining ourselves, not indulging, not at least trying to collect a few toys.

They don’t understand that we would rather be righteous than rich. If they could catch on that we have already been given the kingdom, they might get a handle on true value. We have an inheritance that beats granddad’s millions.

Nobody oversold the short term on earth. Jesus said we would have tribulation. Paul was told by Ananias at his first interview “how much he must suffer for Christ’s sake.” And Peter wrote not to be surprised at “the fiery trials.” Hardly a sales pitch; we were forewarned. This short stint is tough.

Some are still thrown off balance when it proves harder than expected. Entitlement makes some think they deserve more. The payback, however, comes the next time around. We live for the world to come. Or in the exhortation from Peter, “Set your hope fully on the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13). In other words, put all your marbles in the kingdom that is not yet here.

Happiness has already been taken care of. This short bleep will be done “in a little while” (I Peter 1:6,7). It doesn’t even register on the screen of eternity. Don’t make an issue out of it. Just die to yourself, take up your cross, and live with passion until the King returns. If you grumble about the dirt in your sandwich or the crabby neighbor, you’re not getting it; this is temporary. No pain in the age to come, no tears, no goodbyes. We can live with trouble now, because we know what is coming. We don’t need to pursue happiness, because the King is coming. And when you live for the upcoming wedding and eternal honeymoon, joy slips in the back door.

So go low, work your heart out, serve others unselfishly, and go to bed tired (that’s what sleep is for). You won’t regret it. Guaranteed!

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