It is human nature to want to have an answer--words to say, some comfort to give to people we care about. I often put my foot in my mouth when I rush to fill a silence without thinking through the implications of what is about to shoot out of my mouth.
An interesting thing about the advent of modern technology and social networking online is that we can spew out words quickly with a far greater reach--and they cannot always be deleted. Sometimes our rush to comfort and fill the silence is immortalized as it is forwarded with lightening speed through cyberspace. Prayers that God would put a safeguard over my tongue must now extend to my fingers and my keyboard.
One of the places I have seen the most egregious offenses have been through facebook. (I am not anti-facebook in general. It definitely has pros and cons.) I am amazed at the personal nature of things people share as status update--especially things that are not entirely their story to tell. Heartbreak and disappointment get boiled down to emotionally charged phrases for all their 'friends' to comment on in a public forum.
I was struck a few days ago by someone's comment that "Life is too short to spend it doing anything that doesn't make you happy." Even more striking were all of the approving 'thumbs up' this comment received. Pardon my rant, but this is a lie straight from the Enemy. Last time I checked the purpose of life was not my personal happiness and ease.
I don't think pleasure is sinful. I don't think God's will is for us to me yoked to misery--but to ascribe to a life philosophy that major decisions should all be based on my happiness? Is it any wonder there is trouble in this world?
Real life involves joy and pain, responsibility and reward, leisure and hard work. I am deeply saddened by the seemingly prevalent belief that if something isn't easy it must not be right. 'Happy' is not the measure of right and wrong.
Is an athlete 'happy' to devote years of their life sweating it out in practice in pursuit of excellence? Does that always feel good? No, it requires some sacrifice.
Does it make an Army recruit 'happy' to leave his/her family to fight and defend on foreign soil?
Is a missionary 'happy' to sacrifice their personal comfort and safety for the souls of others?
Is a surgeon 'happy' to go into the hospital at 3am for an emergency operation? Or to miss important milestones in the life of their family because duty calls?
Is a young mother 'happy' to give years of her life away to the care of helpless babes?
Was Jesus 'happy' to be beaten to the edge of death before suffering a cruel demise at the hands of men who despised Him?
When will we wake up and stop trying to make it all about ourselves? (I am including myself in this statement.)
Jesus did not die for my happiness, He died for my eternal salvation. Jesus lived and died for my holiness, not my happiness. The blessings and joy we experience through the sanctification process here are an incredible bonus but NOT the point.
“Endurance and perseverance are qualities we would all like to possess, but we are loath to go through the process that produces them.” —Jerry Bridges