July 28, 2010

Presently Happy

"Let each of us examine his thoughts; he will find them wholly concerned with the past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means, the future alone is our end. Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so."
Blaise Pascal, Pensées
Two years ago, my first theology professor suggested we read Pascal. I finally started a read. I am glad I did, but this guy can be harder to understand than C S Lewis, and that is saying something.

But this passage hit me with amazing clarity. Which was nice because after over a dozen pages of huh?, it was nice to have something click finally. This passage immediately brought a verse of Scripture into mind:
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34 (New American Standard Bible)
Our happiness requires to live within the present, content with the provision of the day as the Lord has given it to us. Our joy comes from the eternal security that is ours in Jesus. I wrote some time ago about the difference between the two on this blog. I do not know if my old buddy Blaise had this Scripture passage in mind, but as I read him I did.

We are often surrounded with unhappy people, we are often that person. When that person is me, it is because I have focused too much on the future, too much on myself and not enough on living in the Lord in the present. He is sufficient, in His sovereign grace, for me each and every day. I would do good to remember that more regularly.

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