|I'm just so doggone HAPPY!|
I'm not writing to rail against Pat Robertson, and he certainly doesn't speak for all believers in Christ. But his statement started me thinking about the marriage covenant (a fancy word for contract), and then a friend on an email loop asked, "Who says marriage isn't about making us happy, but making us holy?"
Whoa. In my ponderings, I realized that nowhere does Scripture tell us to try to be happy. We are told to be like Christ, to be faithful, to be holy, and to be mature. But nowhere did Jesus say, "Go out and do something that makes you happy."
This invitation to holiness is found in all contracts, whether written or verbal or implicit. I entered into an implicit agreement to parent my children, and I can tell you that I've experienced long periods of parenthood where I received very little happiness and loads of invitations to holiness (and I'm sure my parents could say the same thing!). Marriage is not a bed of roses all the time, and what job doesn't have its aggravations?
As to being an employee: with each struggle in employment (or unemployment), I've had a choice to be unhappy or to exercise some aspect of holiness--patience, grace, sacrifice, kindness, generosity. In marriage, in family relationships, in business relationships, and even in the neighborhood--whenever I'm tempted to be unhappy, I could instead exercise one of the virtues of holiness.
And you know what? When I deliberately choose to exercise an aspect of holiness--which is what God commands me to do in the first place--I find something better than happiness. Jesus said that he came so that our joy would be full. And joy is much deeper and much more permanent that light and frothy "happiness."
I know that many loving spouses have cared for and remained faithful to their spouses with Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases . . . choosing to exercise the virtues of holiness rather than seeking their own happiness. And when they choose that path, they bring glory to God.
We all face the same challenge--and not one of us makes the right choice 100 percent of the time. But we tend to forget we HAVE that choice, so here's a little reminder . . . to you and to me.
So when the Bozos of your life drive you crazy, remember: by the sovereign will of God, that Bozo is in your life to help make you holy. :-) Thank God for your precious little crazy-maker.