I think I always believed that Christians were happier because their lives were better. This made me angry. It made me jealous. They seemed self-righteous to me, and like everything was going great for them all of the time. I still think that Christians are happier, but not because a Christian life is a prettier nor an easier one. In our digital age, we all put up a facade of perfection. The outward appearance of our lives is perfectly crafted, edited, and cropped. We control how the world sees us, and we want the view to be in sync with the desires we have for ourselves. I am guilty of this as well. I don’t want to wallow in self-pity, and so I don’t present the hard facts for the whole world to see. I don’t feel that the internet is the place for that. There is simply too much information to be found there, and each piece becomes less important in regard to this volume. When I tear the facade down, I want people to notice. I want to be brave and speak honestly when people need to hear what I have to say.
The truth is that my life has only gotten more difficult as my faith increased. I know people would like to tell me that God is testing or strengthening my faith with trials, but that’s not what the Bible tells me. Nor does the Bible say “follow Him and life will only be pleasant.” The world is a difficult place. We are not meant to be comfortable here. This beautiful, crazy, mixed-up place is not where we belong. In this knowledge I find my happiness. The knowledge that it won’t be like this forever. I won’t always have soul-crushing anxiety. I won’t always feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I won’t always ache with loss for my brother. My heart won’t always feel broken.
What the Bible does tell us is that storms will come. Why? Not because God wants to test us or hurt us but because of the reality that we live in a broken world, and bad things happen here. He doesn’t promise to protect us from the bad things, but He promises to support us when they do.
Because they do.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
Isaiah 43:2 NLT
You will go through rivers of difficulty.
You will not drown.
You will not be alone.
So, the true happiness that we have today comes from the knowledge that hard times will come, but we will not be alone. And for me, knowing there is an end to it: to death, sorrow, crying, and pain, helps me to feel hopeful in a rather dismal world.