We know that only Prince Charming and Cinderella have fairy tale-perfect lives. Yet we persist in our dreams of Barbie-doll or most-eligible-bachelor status. In truth, happily-ever-after exists only in God.
For many, life is a series of shattering misfortunes. Lightheartedness is fantasy. Countless numbers dwell within black holes of despair, shut out and spiritually blind.
Thus says the Lord, through the Prophet Isaiah (29:16), "You turn things upside down as if the Potter were thought to be like the clay!"
Isaiah rebukes Israel for the disobedience that has disoriented its citizens. Earlier, Isaiah reminds Israel that its problems are the fruits of negative thinking, wayward hearts and unfaithful lips.
Through Isaiah (29:14b), we learn that "the intelligence of the intelligent is vanishing." Unknown to the people of Israel is that they will soon be conquered and exiled. God, as always, is an all-knowing witness. On Mt. Horeb, God said to Moses, "I see the misery of my people and hear their cries" (Exodus 3:7).
God has always shown his desire for mankind’s happiness and freedom by providing fresh leadership and new direction. But greed, lack of integrity, and weak character have blocked God’s desires for us. Disobedience of God's word has ultimately led to worldwide economic downturns, military conflicts, health crises and epidemics, energy shortages and sundry afflictions which plunder the spirit of societies.
Plato said, "Mankind is affected by two kinds of blindness. First, there's the blindness of coming from light into darkness; second, there’s blindness of coming from darkness into light." There is a difference. The transition from light to darkness is avoidable. We can choose not to descend into disobedience. When we move from darkness toward light, we experience growth, and gain an understanding of freedom, prosperity and success.
No matter how broken and disoriented our lives, God wants us to know that, through Him, problems can be repaired.
No matter how bleak the future, or how distant the goals, there is reason for hope. Our problems are our opportunities for change, enlightenment and growth.
During months of discussing Beth Moore’s book, Breaking Free, in our Bible study group, our thinking was rocked by a chapter about living "happily ever after."
She said, "the word 'happy,' biblically speaking, is getting a bad rap… we’ve become so legalistic in many Christian circles we’ve dropped it from our religious language. We are wise to distinguish it from the other biblical words, like blessing and joy.”
While joy and blessings are God-given, happiness is our reward from God for living an obedient life. God does want us to have it all–joy, blessings, and happiness! But happiness is inappropriate when it’s our primary goal, when we fail to recognize it as a reward from God for righteous living.
Is it realistic to aspire to living happily ever after? Jesus, in His reply to two hardworking servants (Matthew 25:21 & 23), said "Well done, good and faithful servant(s), you have been faithful with a few things…Come and share your Master’s happiness!"
Christ teaches and reminds us that God wants us to have happiness. If your life resembles broken shards and has been turned upside down, affirm yourself by saying, "I am whole, I am healthy, and I am wealthy because the Potter has fixed me and placed me, 'Happily, Right Side Up.'''
If you remain obedient to Him, He will leave you permanently Happy & Right Side Up!
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org.