Does God desire our happiness?

Free Sunflower during Sunset Stock Photo

Does God desire our happiness? Yes, but not in the way we might think.

I remember a sermon that I heard many years ago by Voddie Baucham. He asked (paraphrased), “What if you have to wait many years for God’s purpose to be revealed in your life?” (I think he said 22 years.) “Are you willing to wait that long? Can you trust Him in the waiting?”

In other words, does God care? Is there a purpose?

Too many have this mistaken view that, when we become a Christian, our life gets easier. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the Son of God suffered in His time on this earth. He was born in poverty. His life was threatened, He was betrayed, and His teachings ignored–often by those who knew Him best.

Did God care about His Son? Obviously. Does God care about you? Yes, obviously, because He sent His Son for you.

We have to look at things biblically: His purpose is in glorifying Himself, growing the Kingdom, and doing good to those who love Him. God uses struggles and pain to sanctify us thus growing in us the spiritual maturity required so that we might reflect His Son.

But, when we’re in trials, when struggles build and build…and build…with no end in sight, if we don’t keep our eyes on the Lord, our focus on prayer and His Word, we sometimes lose our focus and flounder. Sometimes we find ourselves asking, “Does God even notice?”

So, let’s refocus…

As I just said–God’s purposes are always wrapped up in bringing glory to Himself and good to His people. Everything is focused on His Son, and worked through His Spirit. We must remember this.

And we must, Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4: 4

And we must remember this: Our trials–whether short or long– are through God’s plans, by His hands, for His purpose, and in His time They are for His glory and our good. Not a tear is in vain. If this is true, and it is, asking does God care can only produce one answer: Yes. But what does He care about? Does God care about us? Does God care about His people? Does God care about His holiness? Does God care about His purposes? Does God care about our happiness?

Does God care…? Yes, He does.

God is sovereign, my dear sister. This means, when all around us gives way, God’s purpose is in it.

Does God care when disaster hits and then hits again? Does God care when we lose babies to miscarriage, when jobs are lost, when finances tumble (and then tumble more), when our dearest on earth depart, even when the unthinkable–or what we perceive as such, no matter what that might be–happens, we can trust our Lord.

Some seem to enter a season of suffering and then a season of joy. Some seem to suffer endlessly with no end in sight. And some, like me, have them endlessly intermingled forever.

Whichever defines your life, keep it mind it is not by accident. God is either sovereign over everything or He isn’t sovereign at all. But since He is sovereign, and He is immutable and perfect and good, we can trust Him and all His ways and purposes, even when they seem to be never ending.

If God is who His Word says He is, the answer to “Does God care about our happiness? our pain? our lives?” can only result in one answer: yes, God cares.

So… what can we do…when the hits just keep on coming and we cannot even think?

Keep your faith on our Lord through His Word and centered in prayer. Gather regularly with the best and most sound church you can find and worship with your brethren. And live your life, whether in sorrow and pain or in brightest of sunshine, knowing that not a single tear is in vain, nothing in God’s economy is wasted, and there truly is a reason and purpose in every single thing you’ve endured or are enduring.

I’ve been forced to live this way every single day of my life.

I’ve lived my life with never knowing health, prosperity, surrounded by abusers and those who misunderstand or defy God and His ways. Yet because God’s ways are perfect, I can honestly say that I am one of the most blessed people I know. Because the answer to does God care is yes.

Our faith isn’t based on how easy our lives are but in the Son of God who gave Himself for us. If we rest it on anything else, we are in sin.

We cannot allow our circumstances to tell us that God isn’t good. Does God care? Yes, we simply have to trust Him. To trust Him, we have to know Him. We have to believe that He is. And we have to understand that His purposes aren’t what our purposes might be.

God’s ways are higher, better, and more perfect than ours could ever be.

And because God is good, and because He loves us, we must love one another.

If the answer to “Does God care?” is yes, then the answer must be, so must I. I would like to say, we must be willing to listen when our sisters need our prayers, share their burdens, and even cry. Sometimes life just hurts. I’ve cried many times. Sometimes, late at night, I go to my bedroom, get out my Bible, I pray, I study, and I weep. I weep in pain over family circumstances and those who are still defying God, that I am so often unsure of the way forward, that I cannot–at present–make anything better, that I so often cannot keep us afloat, and more.

Sometimes, I feel utterly alone–people wise.

There’s really nobody–as in people–that I can turn to here. Outside of my children, I have no family that I can turn to. None. It’s hard for those who haven’t endlessly struggled to understand. They get tired. My grandmother said this to my mother once and she was right–in her case, it was the early death of her husband, the resulting financial struggles, family turning away, the lifelong illness and eventual death of a son, and much, much more. Eventually fewer came or encouraged or understood; those who did were a blessing to her. But most simply got tired when nothing ever changed. Or, later, when cancer came to the son and to my grandmother, and things got worse. And worse.

I understand this. I experience a disaster or more a week it seems–after a lifetime in abuse (parents and husband and even through others), after my husband was fired so many times, after losing our house, van, having everything sold out from under us, endless abuse, endless infidelity, and then having things get worse, and my husband essentially abandoning us, we moved into a new place. My children and I were forced to start over with absolutely nothing and no one in our corner.

We battled for everything as we tried to build lives from the ground up, with little to work with. We tried church after church, seeking sound doctrine. We got jobs, we worked hard, we did what we had to do. And we battled our way upward. Things were improving. We bought used. We counted our pennies. We finally had the basics of the things we needed: furniture, van, food, etc. There was more we were working towards, but we were finally almost able to look towards leveling off and actually being able to relax.

Then came yet another bout of a rather serious illness for me and hospitalization–one that has sent me on a downward spiral, resulting in the inability to bounce back, probably ever again. And Covid with resulting job losses. Injuries. Further loss of income. Healing–then another injury (one that will result in my son needing back surgery very soon). Our van dying. And more and more and more. Endlessly.

Starting in February last year, the hits have just kept on coming. And coming. And coming. And they never, ever, end.

Just over the past month, my very old $20 freezer I bought when we moved here died completely. I lost food. A freezer that was donated to us is now having problems, keeps defrosting, and has caused further food loss (and I cannot afford to repair it, not this time–I’ve already repaired it once). Our washer died and had to be replaced. Since I couldn’t afford a new one, I took everyone’s advice and found one on FB Marketplace, only now it’s not washing–it will fill and drain but not wash or spin. My couch has collapsed and has to be propped up with pillows to sit on. I’ve been sick four times, with illness and flares of various autoimmune and digestive issues over the past month. I’m battling bronchitis. Then my whole family got sick, resulting in lost pay. And my son’s workman’s comp has been changed and he’s been put on “light duty” which means very limited hours doing little, but they have to pay him less than they were on workman’s comp–which was half pay. So we’ve lost further income–and when they did that, they went a month without paying him resulting in my getting behind on our utilities. And now I’m struggling to catch that up. more. So much more.

But who wants to hear this? When you are the one who keeps on having trouble, people look at you askance. Someone recently told me that they “doubted the veracity of my words.” That’s alright, I can’t make anyone believe me. God sees. He knows the truth.

Do people care? Because we have our own lives, our own sorrows, not as often or in the ways as we ought. But Does God care? About our lives and our happiness? Always, especially since both are bound up in Him.

And I can understand why others turn away, or get tired of hearing, especially if our lives are sometimes seemingly impossible to understand. It’s hard to believe when you hear of the hits that keep on coming and you aren’t there to see them. But, for me, they keep coming. Day in, day out. With no end in sight. Not just financial, but physical, emotional, and more. But in these times we must keep trusting our Lord, because, yes, is the answer to does God care.

So because I desperately need the prayers of God’s people, I’m going to keep on asking prayer, even if few believe me. Even if I am doubted or ignored. And you must, also.

Most won’t ignore us for most of us understand pain. They may wonder, but they will often pray regardless. This is a blessing.

God believes me and you, He sees me and He sees you, and He knows. God understands. For it’s by His hand, for His glory, for my good. The timing, the events, the purposes, are all in His hands. In your life and in mine.

But asking for prayer or writing this is not a plea for pity. I hate pity as does anyone who is truly suffering. What we want are prayers, the love of the brethren, and a kind word every now and then. An unexpected act of service.

And, you know, I’ve gotten those too. I’ve had so much encouragement. So many who pray for us. An online friend recently gifted us with some necessities, someone else with a box full of tea. I love tea. My daughters love tea. God has blessed us in ways unexpected. I’ve had so many kind words offered to us.

And more.

I still have no idea how to repair our washer. No idea what to do about our freezer (and a deep fear of losing what food is out there). No idea about the future. When this lease is over in August–where can I go to build my life, our lives, around a sound patriarchal Reformed Baptist church–or a reforming one or such a church plant–and even how can I afford to? What about our future? My lost children? A wife for my believing son? A husband for my believing daughter?

And so much more.

I can’t repair what needs to be repaired or pay my bills today. I have no idea about tomorrow.

And that’s alright. Because God does.

So I give it all to my Lord. I pray and I trust. Somehow, some way, in His time, He always answers. Sometimes, however, we just have to keep trusting, keep praying, and keep waiting for some of those answers may not ever come in our lifetime.

I’ve been waiting decades for some answers and I am no closer to seeing them than I was when I started praying. But God is still at work and, through the trials, through the pain, the poverty, the family loss, those who have rejected me for my faith, my ever decreasing faith, through the infidelity and my husband’s decisions that robbed me and my children of everything and of any hope of financial stability or any stability period, despite not seeing the answers, I know Him better. His character is revealed through His Word. When I read His Word, believe it, and pray, I trust Him more. This is my answer for now. Perhaps, it is His final answer in my life. If so, so be it. I know of His character, not through my experiences (though I’ve seen Him act, and provide, and protect so many, many times) but through His Word. His perfect, inerrant, infallible, authoritative, and sufficient Word which teaches me to trust Him.

So I do. I trust Him. No matter how many hits keep on coming. No matter who believes or understands or how rude some people can be.

And so ought you. You with arms empty of babies you’ve lost. You–with hearts overflowing with pain of loved ones who have turned their backs on God and perhaps on you. Remember: the answer to the question “Does God care?” is yes, for He sent His Son for you.

I’m not writing this to get you to focus on me or even on your own struggles. I want you to understand who God is and why you can trust Him. Your and my focus must be on Him. Even in the darkness.

Does God care about His people? Yes, in every way.

But…Does God want us to be happy? It depends on what our happiness is bound up in.

So you…

You–who physically hurt every single day. You, who struggle with bills and decreasing income. Your life might make mine look like a walk in the park. But whatever you are experiencing, you can trust in our sovereign and great and good Lord. Whatever it is you are struggling with, even when the hits keep on coming and never ever seem to end, it’s within God’s plans. And He’s using it in your life for your good, for the good of His Kingdom, and for His glory.

Always.

So does God desire our happiness? That, my sister, depends on what you define as happiness. He desires that we read His Word and believe and trust Him. He demands our holiness. He works out our sanctification, enables us that we may grow in the likeness of His precious Son, that we produce the fruits of the Spirit. If we do this, we will be happy for we will be holy and we will trust Him. True happiness isn’t available anywhere else but in living in obedience to Him and for His glory.

For His ways are perfect even in the darkness. No matter how many hits keep on coming. I pray you see that.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sunflower-during-sunset-33044/

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