On our drive down to Gatlinburg last Friday the license plate on a little red car in the next lane caught my eye. It read “FNLY HPY”. As we accelerated past, I glanced over at the driver; a sixty-something woman with shortly-cropped gray hair and dark-rimmed rectangular glasses. For some reason I expected the owner of said license plate to be grinning wildly as they made their way down I-81, but her expression was calm and neutral; just a woman driving to wherever she was going. I couldn’t help wondering: What had changed in her life to allow her to finally be happy? And what had been keeping her sad or discontent up until then?
I know. I read a lot into those seven letters. But there must have been a reason she wanted to share with anyone who came close enough that finally, finally, she! was!happy!
Of course, this caused me to reflect on my own “happiness-omelet.” I meant to write “happiness-ometer”, but who doesn’t like a happiness omelet? I feel like there’s glitter involved.
Ok, so I don’t know if I’d call myself “happy.” I’m not not happy, but I can be a worrier, even when there’s nothing to actually worry about. It’s a gift. I am, however, content. And grateful, most of the time. I think those are better, because “happy” is situational, and one of two things you can count on in life is change.
I have learned through years of life not turning out like I thought it should that you can be content even when the world says you shouldn’t be. And now, I have everything I’ve ever wanted (ok, besides a bikini body and a basket full of kittens) but the life I love could change in an instant. One moment of inattention; one diagnosis; and my world could be flipped upside down. Friends drift apart or move away. Pet frogs croak. Jobs become redundant. Grandma gets run over by a reindeer. Country songs don’t write themselves, you know.
That’s why it’s so important to find our identity, our purpose, and our security in God alone. He’s the only other constant in this crazy thing called life.
And what is our identity, purpose, and security when we find it in God?
1. Our identity is found in the beautiful truth that we belong to God. We are loved so much Jesus died for us. We are adopted, fully accepted and completely forgiven. We never, ever walk alone.
2. Our purpose is to be the body of Christ, doing life with other believers and becoming more and more like Jesus (still working on that part, obvs). We also are called to go into the world and preach the gospel. That could be Tanzania or it might mean two houses over. We are called to love people well and speak the truth. Life is too short not to get this right.
3. Our security is in the unmatched power of God which raised Christ from the dead and the promise he will do the same for those who belong to him. Even if life never pans out the way we hoped, an eternity of endless pleasures spent in the presence of God is right around the corner. I forgot a third certainty: Death. You’re welcome.
2 Corinthians 4:13-18 NLT
 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”  We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.  All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.  That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. …
Life will not always make us “happy”. Whatever season we’re in right now could change tomorrow. Sunshine can quickly turn to rain. However, we can be content and grateful in any climate if we are under his umbrella.
Cheesy, yes, but true.
We will not always be happy, but we can be content and always, always have hope because the only thing that matters in the end is if we are “FNLY HIS”.
Put that on your license plate.