Before I retired, I was the director of an out-patient counselling centre. Many years ago, some of my staff went to a conference that had a Key Note motivational speaker type. Within minutes of returning to the office and with eagerness in their voices they asked me, “What part of your life has been the happiest?” That was an easy question to answer because the answer was then, and is today, “Right now.”
Out of all the people who worked in that office - Three Addictions counsellors, four Mental Health counsellors, one Child and Youth counsellor and two Psychiatrists, I was the only Christian. Because of that they had no understanding regarding neither the source of, nor the reason for my joy, peace, contentment etc.
Each one of them related different times in the past that were happier for them than the present. For some it was being a teenager. For a couple others it was early in their marriages. For another it was during a year spent travelling the globe. At the time that I was living the different stages of life, I probably would have said each of those stages were fun for me as well. I mean, that's all that I knew. I didn't know life could be any better. I was coping the best way that I knew how. In hindsight however, and in comparison to the dramatic change in my life after becoming a Christian at age 30, anytime previous to my conversion seems a bust, a flop, a waste of time, an embarrassment, a dismal disappointment - in comparison to today.
What I answered then and what I answer now I can say with absolute honesty. Since I became a Christian 26 years ago, every year has been better than the year before and I don’t see any reason why this will ever end. As my relationship with Jesus deepens, He has increased my peace, my joy, my strength - every year more of Him is poured into my very being. And the weird thing is this. The more desperate my circumstances, the more difficult my days, the more pain I experience because of difficult relationships and challenges, the more that these things happen in my life, the more that I am immersed in and embraced by the goodness and the love of Jesus, who is the source and fount of peace and joy and contentment.
Most of my earthly friendships from highschool onward have either diminished, reached a plateau of eh, or peaked at a good solid friendship. But none of them come close to a relationship with Jesus. With Jesus, the depths of His wisdom, the breadth of His strength, the heights of his love and the overwhelming quantity and quality of His generosity stagger my comprehension. The fact that Jesus is willing to pour Himself into those who follow Him, the fact that He is able to grow a person, change a person, develop a person year after year surpasses anything that any earthly friend can trigger or encourage. What a friend we have in Jesus!