Happiness or Fulfillment?

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Back in October of 2016 I was enjoying the season premieres of various shows. Agents of SHIELD, The Flash, Once Upon a Time, Arrow, etc. I even checked out new shows Timeless and Designated Survivor and the reboot of Macguyver. Spoiler alert for The Flash and OUaT.

There was a clear common thread coming out of some of these shows. The Quest for Happiness. OUaT fully admits that happiness is the driving force of the characters. The villains and heroes want happy endings. They go to great lengths for this. We also saw great lengths taken by the Flash for happiness. There were a few deep episodes dealing with how pain and difficulty are part of Barry’s story. At first it seemed he understood this and had come to terms with it; but such was not the case. That month the season 3 premiere was all about Flashpoint and it revealed the consequences of seeking happiness instead of enduring life’s difficulties.

Happiness is based on your situation. If “A” happens, then I am fine. If “B” happens I’m angry, depressed, etc. We have many warnings about this in scripture. In John 16:33 Jesus warned us about difficulty in life. “…In this life you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We are told to expect problems. They are a normal part of life. Our response to those problems is what we are told is important. Jesus offers hope in grief. He said:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

He didn’t tell us to change our situations or find a “better” spouse, car, whatever, but to run to Him as our redeemer and find hope in Him. Funny thing, divorce, buying new things, taking that cruise, do not necessarily fix the inner workings of your heart. Either way you will soon come to another moment of unhappiness as it is part of life. But Jesus always brings fulfillment that is not based on your situation. You can’t lose it because no situation can change how He views you.

Barry went so far as to change time for his happy ending…all he found was that others were unhappy and he was losing his memories of his life as a hero. He had changed his environment so much by one single act, that others had deeply changed. Ramon didn’t care about others. There was a new Flash who was losing a battle with The Rival, Joe hated his job and was undependable. Others were suffering. Even when it was fixed, he found out there were still consequences.

In OUaT we find the Count of Monte Cristo trying so hard for his revenge that he almost kills kind people. Regina finds out that having the Evil Queen pulled out of her did not work and she and the heroes must now face her without Regina controlling the evil inclinations.

Trying to control our environment does not work. Happiness based on that is fleeting at best and degrading either to yourself and/or others in the long run. Jesus came that our life would be abundant. Not easy or perfect, but meaningful. He invites us to join with Him for peace and hope and to find meaning by sharing that peace and hope with others. This brings fulfillment and even joy, which is an attitude of hope in all circumstances whether good or bad.

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