Many of us whine, “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?” Leonard Ravenhill answers, “God is not concerned about our happiness but about our holiness.”
In meditating on this truth, I saw a correlation with drug addictions.
Imagine you have a friend whose life is enslaved to cocaine. He begs you for money to get high on; his life is miserable if he doesn’t get it; and he’s desperate for his only pleasure left. Yet if you are a true friend, you will withhold him from getting high in order to try and get him off of his addiction: your focus is not on helping him get high, but on helping him get clean. Once he is clean, he will be freed to be happy with true pleasures, and he won’t want the highs anymore.
In the same way, we are addicted to happiness, and to the ways of our flesh which bring about happiness. God is not concerned with satisfying our flesh at all: He is instead concerned with making us holy. Once we are holy (that is, clean), we will be free to have joy, and we won’t be seeking after happiness. He wants us to have joy, not happiness.
The difference? An eternal, Spirit-filled perspective. We may rejoice in the same things, but to someone whose life is holy those things are not his treasures. God is his greatest and sole treasure, and he finds joy in everything around him merely because he recognizes the work and image of God in them. Therefore he is actually more full of joy than the worldly man is of happiness. But this joy can only come once we are holy.
Thus hardships and chastenings and trials come to us in order to purge us from our addictions to the flesh and happiness, for the glorious purpose of revealing to us the infinite and intimate glory of God, bringing true joy into our lives through holiness.
Therefore seek holiness, whatever the cost. That is where God is waiting to embrace us.
God bless you with His presence.