Okay, first of all, don’t take the alarm clock thing too seriously. If you have to be up before 6, that might be a little tough. I’ve gotten a few comments on that and I don’t want anyone to put too much focus on it. My intent is to help us all go to bed and wake up peacefully. Life will go on if you still need an alarm.
Secondly, I was probably asking for it by blogging on happiness, but just after I published that post I got really sick with the flu. My neck and head ached so much I had a hard time sleeping and lying down caused me quite a bit of pain. So I got pretty grumpy. I was in pain, tired, weak, chills, the whole thing. I didn’t want to read, talk, or hardly even think.
At one point I wished I could be quarantined, shot and burned.
As I’ve recovered physically, it has taken some time to recover emotionally. Frankly, I’ve been “down.” That has been very interesting and it’s been a great lesson for me.
The lesson is this: happiness, too, is a work of God’s grace. When God withdrew his hand of blessing, enough so that I was weakened and sick, I was able to clearly see that happiness and optimism are not innate character traits I possess. Rather, much of my happiness is indubitably linked to my relative health and welfare and whatever other joy I experience is simply a gift from God, a result of his work in my life, lifting me up. Again, it is a gift, a work of God’s grace.
Note the Teacher’s exhortation from Ecclesiastes: “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26).
Well then, how can I be happy if it is a work of God’s grace? I mean, how to I do I set about winning the grace lottery if grace is “undeserved favor”? How can I have it if it is out of my control?
Here’s a simple thought: it can’t hurt to ask. You know, just admit your need and ask God for the gift of grace and the grace to be happy in all circumstances, even a household influenza outbreak.
There’s an encouraging scripture to mention here: God resists the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. Yeah.