pursuing happiness and the worst thing that can ever happen


“Most people spend their lives trying to make their heart’s fondest dreams come true. Isn’t that what life is all about — ‘the pursuit of happiness’? We search endlessly for ways to acquire the things we desire, and we’re willing to sacrifice much to achieve them. We never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us … If we look to some created thing to give us the meaning, hope and happiness that only God himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver and break our hearts.” (Tim Keller)

Anything we pursue, apart from love in a relationship with the God who made us, will eventually break our hearts. And it’s sad to have our hearts broken.

But there’s something even worse.

The worse would be this: to not have our hearts broken. To sacrifice and achieve and acquire the things we desire and then to be content with the counterfeit meaning and hope we find there. To be content with temporary satisfaction — apart from God. The worst thing that could ever happen would be that our heart’s fondest dreams come true and we become content apart from God, and God does nothing to stop us.

So, yes, it is sad to acquire our heart’s desire and then have that thing let us down. But to not have God break our hearts with dissatisfaction over that substitute happiness we worked so hard to acquire is infinitely worse. To pursue our fondest dreams, and acquire those dreams, and then never have God wrench us away from the counterfeit is the worst that can happen.

For that =

Being left alone. Left to our own devices.

Being allowed happiness with the substitute.

Being allowed contentment with the lesser.

That = eternal tragedy.

So when your heart’s deepest desire becomes yours and then fails to deliver and you feel as though your heart will break, rejoice. Deep within your spirit, rejoice! He caused the substitute hope and happiness to fail. He didn’t pass you by as you endlessly searched for and acquired what you were sure would make you happy. You can experience deep joy because He didn’t leave you alone. He cared enough to break your hold on that created thing, and with the psalmist you can gratefully cry:

“…let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” (Psalm 51:8)

Father, don’t pass me by. Heart or bones — or whatever it takes — break what must be broken when I search for meaning or hope or happiness apart from You.



About Jill

I'm a wife, mom to three beautiful children, and work as children's ministry director at Redeemer PCA in Athens, GA, a place our family treasures as our church home. It's been thirty years since the Lord saved me, and to this day I'm astounded at His steadfast love shed upon unfaithful me. My hope would be that I might speak and write in ways God would use to soften hearts toward Him, that we would together be enamored by the glorious beauty of Jesus and awakened to His love unimagined. Thanks so much for reading!
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1 Response to pursuing happiness and the worst thing that can ever happen

  1. Pingback: set your life toward the greater | Even More Beautiful

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