A Theology of Happiness #TraditionallySouthside

Babies are unpredictable. I am talking about before they are born, but I suppose even after they are born they are still somewhat unpredictable. Well, I guess I have to admit that some babies aren’t unpredictable. For instance, our new Youth Minister, Ben Tinley, and his lovely wife Abby, had the birth of their baby scheduled for them. Even then, however, the baby didn’t come until the day after it was scheduled, so I guess I’m still correct in saying that babies are unpredictable. Of course, I am talking about my newest granddaughter that has still not decided to make her appearance. Hayes, my oldest granddaughter, predicted that Lily would be born last Saturday. Lucy, granddaughter number 2 and Lily’s sister, predicted that Lily would be born yesterday. Of course, both of them were wrong. This morning, Jennifer, my oldest daughter, asked me if I thought we would be going to Pensacola this weekend meaning, “Is Lily going to come out or not?” My answer to her was that I have no idea. My head has been filled with numbers and words like “dilated” and “effaced,” and I’m like, “I must not have paid attention to this in biology class because I have no idea what it means.” So being the wise old father and pastor that I am, I fell back on the strongest position I could find and said, “That baby will be born when God wants her to be born.”

Wow! That should end all discussion, right? That is the ultimate answer for those of us who believe in the Sovereignty of God and that He is intimately involved in the affairs of men. But many times, even for those of us who are staunchly conservative in our beliefs and trusting in God’s love, it’s not enough. We still want to try to rush things. “Let’s get this party started,” becomes our mantra. Now, I won’t pretend to know what my daughter, Ashley, is going through as she waits to have this baby. I have watched happily as Baby Lily moved around playfully in her mother’s belly. I have seen the elbows and the feet. I have watched Ashley respond to the kicks and the jabs. But for the life of me, I cannot begin to comprehend what it must be like to carry a precious life inside of you. To bear the added weight on the back. To feel like you can’t breathe or move. To know that everything you do, everything you eat, and everything you drink has the potential to harm your precious baby. All I can say is, “Thank you, God, for making women carry the babies.” You may think that is a copout, but for me it is a statement of praise and adoration for every mother and what they have gone through.

So often, we become impatient with God. “Get this baby out of me.” Or, “take this pain away from me.” Or, “Heal me from this disease.” So many times we become demanding in our impatience. And God lovingly reminds us, as He did the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” I read a sermon recently that talked about the “theology of happiness.” The preacher said that when we get to the point that we believe that God’s ultimate goal is for us to be happy, then whatever makes me happy must be right, and whatever makes me unhappy must be wrong.  And isn’t that just how so many of us feel so much of the time? It’s kind of sad, isn’t it? To think that we would want to miss out on all those times when God would pour out His grace on us, loving on us, teaching us what it means to rest in Him!

Well, as I said, I have no idea what my precious daughter is going through – just like I have no idea what you are going through today – but I’m proud that Ashley understands exactly what I have said. When God is ready, when the time is just right, that baby is going to be born. And for you, dear friend, whatever you are going through, when the time is right, God is going to deliver you. Or maybe He will just comfort you and give you peace while you journey through the fire. Either way, you are blessed! Wait on Him.

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