God Wants You Happy
The abundant life promised to us in John 10:10 includes your happiness!
BY: Father Jonathan Morris
Excerpted from GOD WANTS YOU HAPPY: From Self-Help to God’s Help by Father Jonathan Morris. Copyright © 2011 by Father Jonathan Morris. Used with permission of HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.
My new butcher friend, Moe, looked at me, first with surprise, then with a broad smile. “Don’t I wish!” he said, raising his thinning gray eyebrows while shuffling backward and successfully catching my freshly ground beef from his 1950s-style meat grinder without ever taking his eyes off me. The tone and mannerisms of this streetwise octogenarian from Brooklyn couldn’t have expressed more skepticism over my suggestion, made to him just seconds before, that he might be on the road to becoming a saint, not altogether unlike the Italian namesake of whom he was so proud.
My sense was that this gentleman was on such a path; his smile was pure and real. He was spirit-filled.
Living saints were on my mind that Saturday morning as I did my neighborhood errands, because they were the topic of the scripture readings for the next day’s services. During my own prayer time that morning, I had been just as surprised as Moe by the idea—so clearly expressed in the Bible—that we are all called to be saints and that being saints has less to do with halos and folded hands and more to do with living life to the full—becoming everything God created us to be. The message of the various readings was summed up for me in Jesus’s words in the Gospel of John: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV).
In an epiphany explicable only by divine intervention, on that day, when I had first meditated on scripture and then encountered Moe, this very familiar passage—one I had read or heard hundreds of times before—jolted me to the core. God wants me and everyone around me to be profoundly happy! Becoming holy and becoming happy are interconnected, I realized. And God must have a plan—and a few backup plans too, for when we mess up—outlining how we are to get there!
The moment was more than an intellectual realization. In an immeasurably short flash of reason and spiritual emotion, I knew experientially what before I had known mostly in the head: God is on my side, and his invitations, his commands, and even the bumps and bruises he permits along the way must be signposts pointing toward personal fulfillment—life to the full—waiting to be claimed by me and every one of God’s children.