Rob Golding

God’s Law as the Answer to Modern Guilt

Many of the negative emotions we feel, which are often guilty emotions, can be remedied by taking them to God’s Word. When we do so, we will often recognize that it is not God who condemns us but other people or ourselves. On the other hand, we may come to realize that we are breaking the Law of God at times. Beautifully, the solution in such instances is not cowering before the courts of man but boldly entering the Throne Room of Grace.

Being a human is difficult today. The older I get, the more sympathetic I am to such statements. I used to think our technological advancements meant we have it easier today than ever. In a way, it is true. Nowadays, we no longer need to wash clothes manually, endure days of delay for postal messages, tend to barn animals, engage in strenuous physical labor (for most of us), or sit through YouTube commercials (for a fee, which I do not pay).
But, in another more important sense, life today is extremely difficult. In times past, you did not have to work out your career with fear and trembling; it was given to you by your father or the person who owned the land you tilled. You did not have to worry about what everyone thinks about you because your life was not on the internet. You did not have the annual purgatory of tax season, with the threat that if you misstep one of the million words in the US tax code (which is more words than in the Bible), you will be harassed by the newly improved IRS. The worst part about today, however, is not these things. It is that we all feel guilty all the time.
Are you having a nice evening after a hard day’s work to the glory of God? Here is a commercial about a child with a cleft lip, who you are not helping while you sit and eat Cheetos, which scientists say will kill you tomorrow. Are you enjoying a nice walk out in God’s creation? There is that neighbor you keep ignoring who is going to hell, and it will be on you. Did you post something on social media that glorifies God? Look at all those nasty comments calling you a bigot. Spend some money on yourself, maybe a nice vacation? Why did you not go on a short-term mission trip instead? Or give that money to the poor who never have vacations?
Life was simpler when our destinies were set, and the internet was a glimmer in Al Gore’s great-grandparents’ eye. Today, guilt has worked its way into the Western psyche; just look at white social justice warriors—
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What Is So Difficult About Being a Pastor?

The Spirit must descend and produce new birth. Pastors are primed to long for the Holy Spirit. Every day, they are being backed further and further into the corner of God’s sovereignty, where they realize that they are weak, fearful, trembling, unpersuasive, and unwise (1 Cor 2:3-4). Many will dig a hole in the ground, hide, and quit. But others will fall to their knees with tears in their eyes and desperation in their hearts. When they do, the Lord will respond with faithful mercy because even when we are faithless, He remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13). 

1) Sisyphean Striving – The Job Can Feel Pointless (Ironically)
Work is difficult when the purpose is obscured. The story is told about two janitors working in the NASA building during the 1960s. One janitor was depressed because he thought he was insignificant compared to the literal rocket scientists in the building. He found so little purpose in his mopping the floor compared to their space exploration that his work began to feel completely meaningless. His friend, on the other hand, was always whistling while he worked. Finally, someone asked the second janitor, “Why are you so happy at work while your coworker is so dejected?” The happy janitor replied, “I love my job. I’m putting a man on the moon!”
The two janitors perceived radically different levels of fulfillment in their identical jobs solely because they had different perceptions of what they were doing. Fulfillment came to the second janitor because he thought what he was doing was important. The exact same work was drudgery because the first janitor thought it was meaningless. Pastors are a lot like the first janitor. They enter their calling hearing that it is the most exalted calling in the whole world. I heard the story a few times in seminary that a pastor immediately denied requests that he run for president of the United States because to do so would be a demotion in his eyes. This is true.
Every pastor has this expectation of the work—it will feel like the most important thing in the world because it is! Nothing is more important than sharing the gospel of eternal glory. However, most pastors do not experience this level of meaningfulness for long stretches of time. Though they expect their work to be meaningful, when they actually do the work, they don’t see the fruit. They know that preaching the gospel is the hope of the world and that it changes people’s lives. But they often preach the gospel, and nothing changes. Actually, that’s not true. They preach the gospel, and things get worse. This is why Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet.
Imagine you were a farmer, and you worked tirelessly to grow various crops—wheat, corn, and other vegetables. If you saw your job as growing as much food as possible and storing it safely, you would likely have a degree of satisfaction. You might not be doing anything important with the food you grow, but it’s safely stored, and the future possibility of using the food for something good would encourage you. That is like studying the Bible, which is the pastor’s main job. A pastor can study the Bible and enjoy the work because it is storing up biblical wisdom and helping him grow spiritually.
Now, imagine that your job as a farmer was not only to grow and store that food but to cook the food for people. That is the second half of the pastor’s job. He not only must study the Bible, he must take what he learns and feed it to the Lord’s sheep. He must teach. If the farmer was tasked with cooking but the people he gave the food to didn’t seem to benefit, it would be discouraging. If the people said, “This food is too cold, too hot, too bland, too spicy, not what I like, better down the street, etc.” It would be hard to hear. Furthermore, if the people did not seem to benefit from the food, it would be crushing. If they didn’t grow and in fact, were getting sick, the farmer would want to give up. Why on earth do all the work of growing the food then cooking and serving it if the people not only don’t like it but aren’t benefitting from it? No sane farmer would stick with that task.
This is what many pastors feel like. They study the Bible and prepare sermons, but the people often complain. Some complaints are bearable because we know it’s going to happen. The desire to quit occurs not when people complain but when the preaching doesn’t seem to “work.” Nobody gets saved, the people don’t grow in godliness, the church culture doesn’t get any better, and maybe it even gets worse. The pastor spends 20 long hours slaving over his sermon, and when all is said and done, in the words of a pastor I know, “it’s like it never happened.” Many churches today are in this exact situation—no growth, lots of complaints, and it just gets worse. In these circumstances, the pastor feels exactly like the farmer whose food gets rejected. We expect pastors to continue on happily in this situation, while we would never expect the same of the farmer!
In a word, many pastors feel like their work isn’t accomplishing anything, and it may even be making things worse. Complaints and critiques ring loud, and compliments hollow. Fruit is unripe, and sin is rampant. When I joined the Army, I was sorely disappointed at the reality of the work. The recruiter videos have almost nothing to do with what the job actually was. But I couldn’t quit because I had great friends, and the government forced me to stay. Pastors often find themselves in a similar situation, yet they are often the loneliest people on the planet and feel like everyone wants them to leave. It’s a miracle so many stay!
This might sound pretty bad, but it gets much worse. Many pastors think they are joining the ministry to serve God as humble servants. Unfortunately, some don’t understand what their true motive is. Though they say and think that they want to serve God, in the back of their minds, they imagine the ministry to be about them—they get pats on the back, people listen to them, they don’t have to work very hard, they even get famous with megachurches and book deals. If a pastor has this secret idol of the heart and the Lord is kind enough to give him a failing ministry, he may find himself not only questioning the point of his work, but he may also question his calling! He may realize that he was never called in the first place because he isn’t willing to serve the Lord if it hurts. He didn’t really want to serve the Lord as a servant, but he wanted to speak as a celebrity. The pastors who find themselves in this situation have salt poured into the wound. They find the work much less fulfilling than they thought it would be, and they find their hearts much more sinful than they thought they were. It’s a double whammy of pastoral burnout.
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What Are You Living For?: Exploring Church, Family, and the Threat of Illness

Life is simply not worth living without God, and it is very difficult without family. Remove both, and you have existence, not life. One might say that he avoids church and gatherings because he does not want to die, but we must ask in return, “What are you living for?” Whatever the response, it will not convince many (other than non-Christians!) that it is worthwhile.

This is the first post in a two-part series on church and health by Rob Golding, Pastor of First Artesia CRC.
Imay be a day late and a dollar short, but I have heard many people say that they are going to avoid certain gatherings due to the chance that they might get sick. They are immunocompromised. Recently, I received an email indicating that a family member will not be at my grandmother’s 103rd birthday because a friend staying with the family member is very susceptible to disease. Without seeking to castigate this family member (this person is acting in the best interest of a friend), how should we think about such things?
It is one thing to avoid gatherings temporarily when we are temporarily compromised. A woman at our church is avoiding our gatherings while she receives chemo infusions because they drastically reduce her ability to fight infection. She has the blessing of the pastor and the elders. Especially because she says she will be in the front row the day her system is up and running. But what about those who will be compromised indefinitely?
Well, for Christians, this seems to be a no-brainer. For the Christian, there is nothing better than being in the presence of the Lord, with His people, hearing His word, and singing His praises. Indeed, this is a foretaste of heaven that non-Christians cannot and do not enjoy (which is why they would not like heaven if they were to go!). I do not think it is a stretch to say that every single Christian would say that their second-best blessing—after being with God and His people—is family.
So, if Christians avoid family gatherings and church because to do so makes them vulnerable to death, we should ask them, “What are you living for?”
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Are There Great Men of God?

If all people sin—even Joseph—there are no great people. Some may object that Joseph and others like him are great by comparison. That is, they are greater than Haman or the Pharisees. This is a faulty argument. It is no more logical to say that a rotten apple is fresh just because it is less rotten than another apple. A less rotten apple is still rotten. Its lesser degree of depravity does not make it fresh. In the same way, Joseph’s lesser degree of sinfulness does not make him great.

Paul Washer, the great man of God, often says, “There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God.” Is he right? Before we seek to answer that question from a biblical perspective, we should recognize the importance of the question. This question is important because, if true, it releases us from an immense burden. Many, many people feel that they need to do “great” things for Christ if their lives are to matter.No one could make a legitimate argument that people cannot do things that are great for God. The Apostle Paul’s letters are great. Augustine’s and Aquinas’s works are great. The martyrdoms of the Reformation were great acts of love for God’s truth. These are great things, but are the people great? It would seem necessary to say that people are great if they can do great things. Is it not best to say Babe Ruth was a great baseball player, rather than, “Babe Ruth did great things on the baseball diamond”? Would not we do well to say, “The Apostle Paul was a great man of God” rather than, “The Apostle Paul did great things”?
The Apostle Paul helps us understand an important distinction when he says, “I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (1 Cor 15:10b). Paul does acknowledge the greatness of his work ethic. But, he does not attribute the greatness to himself. In this way, we see that Paul’s greatness was not really Paul’s. This statement strongly refutes the notion that there can be great people because it also refutes the idea that people can do great things in and of themselves.
If the greatness of Paul’s actions (which were genuinely great) are actually gifts from God, it will make no sense to make the larger statement, “Paul was a great man.” Maybe we would have an argument if Paul’s great actions were really a result of something he was able to muster up. But he rejects that notion. He says, on the contrary, “I know that nothing good dwells in me” (Rom 7:18b). If nothing good dwells in Paul, yet he was able to do good things, the only logical conclusion is that those things arose from Someone else.
If that is true, we have no biblical grounds to say, “Paul was a great man,” properly speaking. Of course, we can mean that in the sense that Paul had extremely admirable characteristics, like the love of God, zeal for truth, and willingness to sacrifice. But, we must remember, all of those things did not come from Paul’s flesh (which has nothing good), but they came from God’s grace. If we want to be precise with our language, therefore, we should say, “Paul was a man who God greatly used.” Paul leaves us no room to describe him in any other way. If his work ethic was not from him but God’s grace, how much more his works? If his works were from God’s grace, how much more him?
This concept is borne out in the rest of Scripture. We are hard-pressed to find any true heroes in the Bible. The “greatest men” in the Bible are often people who have committed adultery and murder (Paul and David, for example)! Great men do not kill innocent people and cheat on their wives. Though we may want to describe David as the great king of Israel or Paul as the great Apostle, this would be to describe them in ways that run contrary to Scripture. Indeed, this would run contrary to David and Paul’s self-descriptions (Ps 51 and Rom 7)!
What about other “great men”? Joseph is commonly referred to as the least sinful good guy in the Bible. Abraham was a liar, Moses was cowardly and angry, we heard about David, and right up through the Apostles, all the key figures in the Bible display radically not-great characteristics. But Joseph seems to be an exception. Was Joseph a great man?
Not quite. First of all, it is very likely that his presentation of his dream to his brothers was an act of prideful boasting. If God gave you a dream that you would rule over your siblings or coworkers, you probably would not tell them, at least not right away.
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A Subtle Shift in Modern Worship

It is very subtle, but many modern worship songs have been slowly changing the emphasis in their lyrics from God saving us to God helping us. Without clearly explaining how God helps us, many will think of their careers and happiness, but God is not in the happiness business. He is in the ministry of holiness.

I have been listening to the new song, “More Than Able,” almost on repeat for the past few days. This morning I woke up with the chorus ringing in my head. Later this morning, I watched the music video for the song, which displays a congregation passionately singing the lyrics. It brought tears to my eyes, but not in a good way.
As I watched hundreds of young people (where are all the older people?) sing this song together, I saw the faces of dozens of young men and women singing the lyrics like their lives depended on it. But I began to cry when I reflected on what they were singing. Here are the lyrics that were sung when the people were most impassioned:
“There’s so much more to the storyYou’re not done with me yetYou’re not done with me yetYou’re not done with me yetThere’s so much more to the story (C’mon)You’re not done with me yet (Say)You’re not done with me yet (After this, there will be glory)”
Is this worship music? Are we worshipping God when we sing about us? “You’re not done with me.”
Many of these young people are depressed and anxious. Statistically, that’s without question. When these poor young people sing, “You’re not done with me,” what is the point of this lyric? It’s that something good will happen to me. That is hopeful. But that is not worship. This me-centric focus is emphasized later:
“Just ’cause it’s not on my resumeOr just ’cause I don’t have it, doesn’t mean He can’t do itOh, who am I to deny what the Lord can do?”
The point is that the Lord can do things in our lives that others think are impossible. You do not have the experience on your resume (“Just ’cause it’s not on my resume”). The Lord can get you the job. You do not have the financial means to attend college (“just ’cause I don’t have it”). The Lord can get you a scholarship. You do not have the courage to face tomorrow. The Lord will give you joy. The song title is “He is More Than Able,” but the question is, “Able to do what?” If the ability we sing about is only regarding our future prosperity, we are not worshipping God; we are getting excited about what God will give us in the future.
Is it any wonder that all these young people are in tears singing these lyrics? They are worshipping their own prosperity!
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Moses, the Mountain, and a Mass of Email

Moses stands as a gleaming example in the dark storms of modern self-aggrandizement, reminding us that to sit at the feet of the Lord—even when spiritual tragedy surrounds us—is good and proper. It is a reminder that the spiritual disasters around us are not, properly speaking, our problem. The battle belongs to the Lord. He may send us down the mountain to be a spiritual leader in critical times (Exodus 32:7), but never before filling us with His grace, peace, and Word. The events or tasks causing that tension in your chest and anxiety in your heart cannot be solved by you. If those things are to be done well, they must be according to the Lord’s plan. 

Christians and non-Christians alike constantly talk about the need for “self-care” these days. I wonder if farmers, working 80 hours a week in 1950s America, thought about “self-care.” That is a rhetorical question. Of course, they did not. The reason, I suspect, is not that hard-working farmers did not need to take care of themselves. Instead, we talk about it today because of new demands in how we live.
We talk so much about it (there are books, YouTube videos, and even people dedicated to this topic), and people of yesteryear did not because times have changed for us. We are in a new place that makes divine demands on all people. Society expects us to be “on” all the time. We must respond to instant messages instantly. We must be aware of tragedy in our city, state, nation, and world. We must keep up with the news, the latest book, the newest post, the latest show, the best restaurant, and what everyone we know is thinking as they stream it live onto social media.
In other words, society expected 1950s farmers to grow crops. Today, on the other hand, society expects us to be God. We have the world’s information in our pockets—we must be omniscient. We can respond to everything everywhere—we must be omnipresent. We have incredible technology that can solve “all” our problems—we must be omnipotent. For an example of the latter point, consider a billboard I recently saw hawking services to people with cancer: “Take control of your cancer! Call us today.” As if dealing with cancer is a matter of “taking control.”
Moses begs to differ. In Exodus 24, Moses went up the mountain of the Lord. When on the mountain, God conversed with Moses from Exodus chapter 25 to 31. In chapter 32, we read that the people begin to commit idolatry—the infamous golden calf “incident.”
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The Secret Benefit of Depression

Allow the weight of your depression to dash you upon the Rock of Ages. Press into Christ. Let the sadness press you toward Him. Abandon everything but hope in Jesus. Run into His arms because there is nothing good anywhere else. You have been given clarity that very few people have. You understand that there is nothing good anywhere without God. 

I have noticed a world of difference between visiting the depressed and visiting the physically sick. The physically sick will chat with you and will enjoy a prayer at the end of your conversation about their illness and the medical plan to take care of it. The depressed, on the other hand, want to talk to you about God. They weep over their sins. They look to the words of the pastor as if life were in them. Their eyes contain tear-filled expectations, simultaneously expressing grief and hope.
If we evaluate these types of sicknesses—mental and physical—it is easy to see that one type lends itself to an openness to the Lord. Of course, as Lewis says, “God shouts to us in our pains.” We hear God, like Job, when we physically suffer. But mental pain (that is, depression) makes us alert to God in a heightened way.
If you have cancer, you will think about death. You will worry. You will ask your pastor to pray. You will turn to doctors and hope that they can fix you. Cancer can be a gift, which is why John Piper says, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.”
But when you are depressed, and the depression does not lift, you are backed into the corner of hell. Behind you are the flames, and no doctor extends a hand to help. There are none to pull you from the flames but Christ.
Your conscience is burdened with the feeling that you are to blame for your predicament. The guilt weighs upon you like a thousand-pound weight. Every thought is another burden added to the weight, increasing the pain until it becomes unbearable.
This pain vents itself in cries of desperation, “God, please help me!” When He does not answer, the weight pushes you through the floor.
People with cancer know nothing of this desperation. People with cancer want to live, but people with depression want to die.
We wonder how Paul was able to say, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” We marvel at the humility of John: “He must increase, and I must decrease.” The Psalmist outshines our spirituality on its best day when he says, “There is nothing on earth I desire besides You.” How are these people able to say such glitteringly spiritual things?
They walked through the valley of the shadow of death. They have experienced life without God. Like the title of Martin Lloyd Jones’s book, they have tasted Spiritual Depression.
It is staggering to see how many people are depressed today. Someone recently told me that, on average, Americans are more suicidal than those interned at the Nazi concentration camps. Could this be a grace, a gift of God?
I just heard a pastor say that revival always occurs when a society loses the most hope. When people look around and say to one another, “There is no hope left for us!” The eagles of Christ’s mercy swoop down with healing in their wings.
When we are depressed, we sprint toward the medicine cabinet. When we do not feel well, we turn to the bottle. When anxiety strikes, we open the refrigerator. Like a doctor striking our knee, we have instant responses to depression—and they are always to mask it.
But what if our depression is actually preparation? What if the Lord is preparing our hearts to be humble and meek, like His?
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What Spiritual Depression Taught Me About Worship

In that moment of worship in sadness, you are experiencing some of what Christ felt. He knew He needed to march toward His death because it was worth it. And the joy of bringing many sons to glory overshadowed the pain of the cross upon His scoured back. So it is with us. When we do not feel like worshipping because we are depressed, we worship anyway, knowing that this difficult road will one day result in glory. But what is more, we worship because Jesus walked that road, and He is walking it with us right now.

One of the most profound spiritual moments in my life came when I was most spiritually depressed. I was in college and found myself in a serious spiritual search. I was a Christian at a Christian college, studying the Bible, and I had entered the midst of the Charismatic Movement. I was regularly with friends who saw visions, prayed for and received healings, were “slain in the Spirit,” and even prayed that pennies would stick to their dormitory walls, and apparently, they did. We even went to see a man that claimed he could transport “in his Spirit” to the Garden of Eden. He was spiritually teleporting. Even then, I was highly skeptical of much of this and have even greater concerns today. However, I have had many moments where I felt incredibly close to God as if I was in the same room with Jesus. I was not too concerned with getting pennies to stick to walls or seeing the Garden of Eden, but I wanted more of Jesus. I wanted to experience Him radically, really, tangibly.
One night, I was at a charismatic event. There were about 50 of us, all wanting to experience God (with rather different conceptions of what that might look like). As Charismatic worship goes, I was in the front of the room, on my knees, singing. I was also begging God, raising my hand in a fist, making a motion like I was knocking on a door, asking the Lord to “let me in” to where He is. This moment was the culmination of months of seeking God and feeling like I was getting nowhere: no vision, no voice, no ecstatic feeling, not even a gravity-defying penny. I did not have a red cent to my spiritual name. Nothing.
During the worship, I got up, left the room, and sat in the entry area, crying. I honestly confessed my heart to the Lord: “God, I feel like I have been doing everything you want, but you are not holding up your end of the deal. Why are you so far off? If you love me, and you are my Father, where are you?”
Immediately, this Psalm came to mind: “For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground” (Ps. 44:25). I thought, “this is exactly how I feel.” Then, I imagined myself lying face down in the dirt. It was a picture that seemed to capture the apex of spiritual depression. It does not get much lower than on the ground, face down, and in the dirt. That is where I was spiritually.
Then, as I imagined myself in this position, I thought of myself raising my hands, palms upward, over my head, as my face was in the mud, worshipping God. Suddenly, my chest began to swell.
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How Do We Apply the Psalms about Killing Enemies?

When we read of the incessant desire of the Psalmist’s adversaries, we should think of our own constant temptation to Sin. We should read these poems of war as our poems of war. We should be encouraged not just to sit through hard times but to fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil with our only weapon—the sword of the Spirit. 

John Calvin called the Psalms the heart of the Bible—not only do they occur toward the middle of our Bibles, but they express the heartbeat of Christianity. Pain, grief, joy, and the desire for victory over enemies are Christian emotions infallibly set down in God’s Word. That last emotion, however, is one that many Christians struggle to apply from the book of Psalms. The enemies (oyiev), foes (tsar), and adversaries (shoreir) of Israel litter the Psalms over a hundred times. What are we, as 21st-century (American) Christians, supposed to do with that? I don’t have any enemies who “trample my life to the ground” (Ps 7:6). I can’t say “my deadly enemies … surround me” (Ps 17:9). Do these Psalms only apply to persecuted Israelites but not Christians?
No, they apply to all Christians. Every believer in Christ is in a struggle more significant than mortal life. We are in the battle of eternal life (Eph 6:12). We must fight against “the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:11) because he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). We have an adversary who is more powerful and who seeks to do more damage than all the nations the Psalmist wrote about. The Amorites, Babylonians, and Egyptians are nothing compared to the schemes of the devil. They can take lives, but the devil wants your soul.
Throughout history, Christians have understood themselves to be in a three-part war. They have seen themselves in a fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. If we apply the Psalms to that fight, we see that, indeed, they do apply to our battle against worldly powers. That is the context of most of the Psalms. But, we must consider the reason the Israelites were in that earthly fight. It was not for gold or glory or national gain. The fight was always theological. God commanded the Israelites to fight because He knew that if they lost and the nations ruled over them, they would forsake Him. The physical fight was always just the servant to the spiritual battle.
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The Joy Beyond the Pain

This life will steal your joy unless it is rooted in eternity. We grasp and grope for joy like patrons of a brothel, denying that true love waits for us at Home. Joy is not to be found here. We must hope for Home. If we can do this, the eternal Joy of heaven will pierce our wounded hearts with the light of Christ. 

In The Edge of Eternity, Randy Alcorn imagines what it will be like to experience true joy in heaven, as compared to the joys we now experience. The man who enters into the golden gates of glory says, “This is joy itself. Every foretaste of joy in the Shadowlands [Earth] was, but the stab, the pang, the inconsolable longing for this place! How could anyone be satisfied with less than this?” (p. 309). The joys of life before heaven will always be marred with grief.
The sweetest tasting fruit always turns putrid. Streaks of gold and glittering shapes of promise light the sky’s morning moments, yet darkness always follows. Love lights the heart like blazing fire, but death comes to snuff out the purest flame with crushing despair. Grief always follows jubilation.
Highs always convert to lows. Tears follow laughs. Achievements fade. Death.
It is a human constant in this fallen world—a law of nature—that happiness is always followed by despair. No joyful moment or experience shields us from the inevitable entropy of our happiness. The joy of a puppy turns to the tears of an old dead dog. The bliss of marriage ends in the gut-wrenching parting of the grave. Promotion always ends in retirement. The joyful union of love is always broken by lashes of life.
Yet most people live for these happy moments. Are they ignorant of their end? Do they not realize that their lust for happiness determines their bitter fate? Why do we instinctively crave wealth like infant hands piercing the womb with clenched fists of desire? We grasp and grope, yet all our hands will lie with palms open in the grave. “The pursuit of happiness” is the American dream. But perhaps it is a nightmare. Certainly, it’s an unwinnable game—toiling day after day under the beating sun to gain people and things that will perish before we do or after. Happiness is not the inevitable result of life; death is. How do we daily—hourly—pursue this happiness when life guarantees it will be ripped from our hands forever?
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher.
We think that we can accomplish in our little lives something that thousands or millions of years of billions or trillions of humans have been unable to do—be happy.
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