Our world has quite a lot of focus on the concept of happiness. Even the Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" presuming that God gives us license to the pursuit of happiness. But is that what God really tells us?
In my Bible reading this week, I read the Beatitudes (the beginning of Matthew chapter five, if you're unfamiliar) and the term Blessed comes up nine times. I've read this chapter numerous times but this time I seemed to be fascinated with the word Blessed. In the NIV Study Bible, the study notes had a section on the word Blessed. It said:
The word [blessed] means more than "happy", because happiness is an emotion often dependent on outward circumstances. "Blessed" here refers to the ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.
Ultimate well-being...distinctive spiritual joy...these can be with us on a regular basis if we share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.
In the last year, I have been happy, but not a lot. 2014 was not a great year in my family. Broken bones, several layoffs, family struggles, money struggles...ending with the second trimester miscarriage of our baby girl just before Christmas. Happy was not often part of my emotions in the last twelve months.
In the last year, I have been blessed. A lot. 2014, I was a very blessed woman. I had the love of a wonderful man, the joy of a beautiful six year old girl, the friendship of godly women, two adorable nephews, plenty of food to eat, a roof over my head, a comfortable place to lay my head at night, constant access to the internet, and most importantly, I have had the ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.
I haven't been happy much in the last year. But I have been blessed...so very blessed. It's possible I'll be happier in 2015...in fact I'm counting on it. But I can guarantee I will be blessed in this new year...and all the years after that.
Which is okay because, after all, I think I'd choose to be blessed over happy after all.