“. . . the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18).
IN OUR PREVIOUS READINGS, IF WE HAVE SEEMED TO DENIGRATE HAPPINESS, WE HAVE NOT REALLY DONE SO; WE HAVE ONLY TRIED TO REDEFINE IT. What needs to happen is for our minds to be reoriented with regard to things like happiness. We need to enlarge our perspective on what these things were truly meant to be.
It’s perhaps risky to try to put ourselves in God’s position, but don’t you suppose that part of the “frustration” God experiences in working with us is that we are willing to settle for so little when He is trying to offer us so much? God knows that the pitifully little thing we call “happiness” is nothing compared to the thing that really deserves that name, and it must surely be “exasperating” to Him to see us hang on to our happiness so tightly and pay so little attention to treasures that are incomparably more precious.
Consider Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7–10). When he prayed for its removal, he was saying, “I want to be happy. Please remove this hindrance to my happiness.” But God said, “No, Paul. I have something for you better than what you call happiness, and this thorn will help you get it.” Later, in writing to the Ephesians, Paul prayed that the eyes of their understanding might be enlightened, “that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Paul understood that what would do us more good than anything else is a clear vision of the greater things that God has for us.
Growing in faith means learning to let God define things for us and then to be willing to receive these things on His terms. Take, for example, the concept of “salvation.” Faith means that we let God define what salvation is and then have the humility to receive it on His terms. Now apply that to the enjoyments of human life. Wouldn’t we be more mature spiritually if we let God tell us what these things really are and then let Him dispense these blessings to us on His terms and according to His wisdom?
“I thought God’s purpose was to make me full of happiness and joy. It is, but it is happiness and joy from God’s perspective, not from mine” (Oswald Chambers).