QWhat is the secret to a happy life?
aThe secret to happiness is guided love. Living a spiritual life is all about love, but it’s also about choosing which loves are best. For example, at any given point you may have to choose between a love of basketball, a love of social life, or a love of learning about the Lord. Sometimes the choices are easy, and sometimes they’re hard. When we look to God to tell us which loves will make us the most happy, we are walking a spiritual path, and the Lord can give us blessings we could never have seen on our own.
QDoes God answer prayers?
aYes, but not always the way we expect. God looks at things from a perspective much bigger and broader than our own; He can see the path that will be best for us. When we look at a child struggling to tie her shoes, we have to weigh the options: either help her or let her struggle so she can learn to do it. Unfortunately, even in this simple example we often don’t know which option would be best. When God looks at our prayers, He does know what is best. That best way sometimes looks to us like struggle, but from God’s perspective it is the answer.
QI sometimes feel like I am getting nowhere on my spiritual path. Am I doing something wrong?
aNot necessarily. The Lord promised us that when we work with Him spiritual life is easy, but He also warns us that there will be ups and downs. One thing to watch for —something that can make spiritual life a chore—is trying to do it all ourselves. When we try to do the Lord’s part or when we try to make progress without the support of friendship in a spiritual community, we drain our own finite resources. When we lean on the Lord, we pull from an infinite source. When we lean on friends, we can support each other and go much farther than we could alone.
QDo I need to be part of a religious organization to be happy?
aThe Lord alone is the author of your faith and fountain of your life. You can be both happy and spiritual without being a part of a religious organization, but why would you want to? You can become a martial artist or a musician by studying books and movies, but it will take you much longer to master these arts without guidance and community support to facilitate learning and creativity. Similarly, why not find companionship in your route to a happier life?
Derrick Lumsden is the Assistant Pastor at New Church Westville, South Africa. To learn more about the church go to: www.newchurchwestville.co.za