I thought I was supposed to have this post up last week, but I spent most of Tuesday trying not throw up. I get migraines when it storms. I take medication to prevent that, but it doesn’t always work. I also have medicine for the pain, but it only dulls it. I woke up Wednesday in a panic thinking I'd missed my day, so I wrote this post and was ready to publish it when I noticed it was actually Jennifer's week. I guess my foggy brain mixed things up.
Pain is a complicated thing. It can be anywhere from a mere annoyance to life-threatening. And while I'm in the middle of a migraine, and to me it's all-consuming, I know that really it’s more toward the inconvenience side of the scale compared to what some people live with. Or worse, decide they can't live with.
We want a pain-free life. Just look at the pain reliever aisle of any grocery or drug store. We desire comfort. We crave happiness. I know one person who left a marriage barely a year old because he “wasn't happy.” I know two others who destroyed nearly everything—family, friends, marriages, careers—not to mention many people around them, in attempts to find personal happiness.
What I'm realizing is this quest for happiness is very much a first-world problem. Only here do we have such a luxury. Only here so we labor under such a delusion.
While we are busy rearranging our lives to avoid pain and seek happiness, girls in other countries are being kidnapped or forced to marry Muslims in order to produce more Muslim babies. Pastors are thrown in jail. Yes, I know people suffer for many reasons, but more and more often but it happens simply because one names the name of Christ.
God never promised happiness. In fact, He guaranteed exactly the opposite: “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world." (John 16:33 HCSB)
Jesus promised suffering, but He also promised joy. "I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
Joy and happiness are not the same thing. As long as we have Jesus, we can have a joyous life, even in the midst of suffering. And even when we have a horrid headache! The next time you have one, think on all these things, and rejoice.