Peaceful fishing; Sogndal, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
April 21, 2019
Over the decades since I lived in Virginia (1973-1975) and was filled with the Holy Spirit, I have been blessed by God with revelations from his heart and being to mine. A lot of them came in response to my petitions to know and understand what life on earth was all about, so that I could live a life of success, fulfillment, and continual fellowship with God–the Creator of earth and life. Other revelations came as I lived the Christian life and went through various struggles, difficulties, pain, suffering, and the battle between good and evil that we all face. These revelations helped me immensely to grow and progress, and become a better person to all that I interacted with on earth. My goal is that you too will benefit in your own life as you read about some of what I learned below.
Many on earth see life as being too difficult and too mysterious to negotiate, even Christians, especially when they have done all the hard work of accumulating the things and experiences that should make them happy and content. This is often because they find that the power of these things seems to vanish as soon as they begin to rest and rely on them to sustain the contented life. They may wonder why this is happening and why all their hard work isn’t paying off like they had hoped it would. This disappointment happens because God made life here so that worldly things in themselves cannot sustain us in a kind of heaven on earth. All of our efforts to use earth in this way are thwarted by one thing or another that comes into our life and turns it upside down. It could be the presence of a persistent depression which descends on us, degrades our happiness, and sends our life into a downward spiral. It could be a sickness, such as cancer, which enters our body and demands all of our attention and resources. It could be unexpected and chronic pain in our body which makes life miserable. It could be the breakup of your stable family life through divorce. It could be the drug or alcohol addiction that your son or daughter has become engulfed in. It could be anything, but whatever it is shatters the tranquility of a life of ease and comfort. Yet, the Bible promises peace and prosperity–what has gone wrong?
Actually, maybe nothing has gone wrong, and everything is going right:
“Do not lay up for yourselves an earthly treasure. Moths and rust corrode; thieves break in and steal. Make it your practice instead to store up heavenly treasure, which neither moths nor rust corrode nor thieves break in and steal. Remember, where your treasure is, there your heart is also.” Matthew 6, 19-20
“You cannot give yourselves to God and money. I warn you, then: do not worry about your livelihood, what you are to eat or drink or use for clothing. Is not life more than food? Is not the body more valuable than clothes?” Matthew 6, 24-25
“Your heavenly Father knows all that you need. Seek first his kingship over you, his way of holiness, and all these things will be given you besides.” Matthew 6, 32-33
I have learned the hard lesson that earthly things are not what sustains deep happiness and joy. They have no power to do this. What has really always sustained me is the presence of God within. That is not only the true goal of life, but, ultimately, living in the presence of God eternally after we die is the best definition of heaven that there is. Do not be afraid of opening the doors of your heart and letting God in. When he comes, he will bring all things that you need and yearn for in life. And just as the last scripture above states, after he comes in, you will truly be able to enjoy and appreciate the things of this earth: a nice home to live in, attractive clothing, good food, an adequate income to support you, as well as stable and joyous relationships with your spouse, family, friends, neighbors, and fellow believers in church. What else does anyone really need to be happy? And think, all that you need to start this off is to put away your fears and seek God with all your heart!
Also, know that when God looks down on you from heaven, he does not see a flawed, imperfect, and sinful human being, but rather an opportunity for him to bring you to healing, wholesomeness, forgiveness, confidence, love, hope, and ultimately, eternal life in heaven. It brings him joy to lead you from darkness into the light. The only thing which stands in his way is you. He suffers with you when he sees you wallowing in guilt and shame, self-condemnation, brokenness and failure. He longs for and works hard for all human beings to receive healing, renewal, restoration, and transformation for whatever is broken and hurting in their lives.
What kind of life should you strive for that will bring you a sustained source of meaning, deep joy, and life enriching optimism and confidence? Just this: A life of meaningful work, serving God instead of self, ministering to others’ needs, cultivating lasting friendships, fellowship with godly believers, and prayer and thankfulness to God each day for life and love. This will bring you a happiness and contentment that earthly riches, goods and services will never be able to accomplish. These things will never fall flat and abandon you, but will sustain you through thick and thin, success and failure, sufferings and deprivation, and, indeed, anything that life might throw at you. Don’t listen to what the world says you need to be happy, for those things are usually rooted in an appeal to selfish desires. Their pursuit will only take you down. Always keep in mind the words of Jesus Christ below, and you too will never be alone in your struggles and you too will be an overcomer:
“An hour is coming–has indeed come–when you will be scattered and each will go his way, leaving me quite alone. (Yet I can never be alone; the Father is with me.) I tell you all this that in me you may find peace. You will suffer in the world. But take courage! I have overcome the world.” John 16, 32-33