Monday, August 23, 2010

Micah's Legacy, Part II: To Find Our Ultimate Happiness in God, Not Our Circumstances

Second, God has worked through Micah’s life and death to center my hope for ultimate happiness on God, and not my own circumstances. I cannot adequately describe my anguish as I sat in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital, knowing that while my little son’s body was lying next to me, his spirit was already gone. When we took him off the breathing machines, and his little heart stopped beating, many of my own dreams died along with him.

Over the past year, Heather and I have wondered whether there could ever be any set of earthly circumstances that can ever provide us with sufficient joy to make up for this loss. Certainly, the birth and health of our second son Owen has provided us with great happiness. But regardless of Owen’s future health and happiness, or the success of our careers or other life opportunities, I find it difficult to believe that we can ever be naturally happy again. The death of our Micah, and our hopes and dreams for him, has left such a void in our hearts and in our home that no set of circumstances can ever make us or our family “whole” on this side of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

But just as Micah’s death has removed any hope for ultimate happiness based upon earthly circumstances, it has also provided us occasion to grasp the supernatural joy found in Jesus Christ. There is reason to hope and live in joy, not in anything related to our circumstances, but in God Himself. As Christians, we are called to find our ultimate joy in Jesus Christ. Jesus told us that He came so that we may have joy in the knowledge of the saving grace found in Him alone. He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11.

Even though King David experienced significant earthly successes, it was God that ultimately brought him joy. “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4. David said, “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you’…The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.” Psalm 16:2, 5.

The Apostle Paul, before he became a Christian, had reason to take pride in his circumstances. He was a zealous Jew, even persecuting the early church. And yet, following his conversion, he considered all his background“…as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…I count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:8-11.

Micah’s death has allowed me to “cut to the heart” of happiness in life. Is my joy from my job? But what happens when I lose it, or it significantly changes? Is my joy in my hobbies, my athletic pursuits or my entertainment? What happens when I lose my sight or my ability to run or walk? Where is my joy then? Is my joy in my spouse and children? What happens when my child or spouse dies? How will I have any ability to carry on in life if all of my joy was centered solely in my child or spouse?

Two thousand years from now, Micah and I will have enjoyed each other in the presence of our Lord and Savior for many, many years. Our happiness will have not been reduced by the pea that stuck in Micah’s throat. Instead, we will have spent many years together searching out the unreachable heights of the wisdom and power of God, giving praise to God for how He divinely orchestrated human history to display His wonderful attributes to us. Until then, I can be thankful that God uses events in our lives to teach us about what it means to be ultimately happy.

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