Losing Your Religion

“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” ~C.S. Lewis~

I read those words on a Twitter feed this morning, and they hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. They burst upon my brain like a tornado, because they are ultimately true—and seldom considered (at least by me).

We attach our happiness to a lot of stuff. And, from what I can tell, most of that stuff consists of things we can lose. They range from little items, like what we drink, to much weightier things like spouses and health. It seems that we base a lot of our happiness on entities to which we might have to wave bye-bye at any moment. It seems a tad odd that we would do so, but since life is fleeting, apparently our happiness is as well.

The moment I read Lewis’ words, the phrase, “losing your religion,” popped into my head. Don’t ask me why—I’m not sure either. But it probably has something to do with the fact that I (along with a lot of other folks) equate authors like Lewis with our faith journeys. It occurred to me that Lewis would undoubtedly link any true happiness he had with his faith (or religion, as many like to term it). In that case, if you lose your religion, you lose your happiness.

The fact is, however, no one can take your faith away from you. They can steal your spouse, your car, your ID, and maybe even your sanity. They can’t steal your belief system. That, my friend, is yours and yours alone. It is the bedrock foundation of who you are, and it stands in your life when everything else falls.

I’ve seen people of faith go through a lot. The common statement from many of them is, “I don’t know how people go through these things without Jesus.” Instead of the name, Jesus, you can hear other substitutes like faith, God, and the Lord. It all comes down to the same thing. If your happiness is fastened to something you can’t lose, you’ll always be happy.

I Don’t Know How

The interesting thing about all this is the term, happiness. As far as I can tell, we are not guaranteed happiness in Scripture. Still, the thing we probably seek most in this life is happiness. The people who do this include Christians. Somehow, we think if we are happy, God is pleased with us.

The truth is, God doesn’t dole out happiness to those who serve Him best or please Him most. If that were the case, we wouldn’t wind up asking why some of the best people we know go through the most tragic of situations. Yet, we seem to do that quite often.

It’s common knowledge (although our actions belie the truth of it) that real happiness doesn’t lie in the abundance of our possessions. Your happiness lies in the eternal. Just thank God you can’t lose your religion (although sometimes we seem to misplace it).

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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