Christian Philosophy Lite: What if you were granted three wishes?
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You have just been approached by a genie who would grant you three wishes. What is it that you will wish for?
Someone has said, he who is to be granted three wishes must be very careful what he wishes for.
Would you wish for money? There are many wealthy people who are not particularly happy. That is not to say they don't experience some pleasure from things, but settled happiness, no.
There is a billboard sign on U.S. Highway 59 N. that displays the daily jackpot, encouraging folks to buy lottery tickets.
On a particular day, it might show $35 million in the jackpot. The next day it goes to zero, meaning that someone won the $35 million.
When I see that zero, I think of someone who has just had his life ruined.
You might wish for good health, and that would be admirable, but, back in good health, you would soon be like you were before you fell into poor health - just like most folks in the everyday grind.
Would you wish for a mansion with a swimming pool and a Porsche in the garage?
That would be fine for a while, but after a time, the newness wears off. The house would require a lot of maintenance, and so would the yard, the pool and the car.
We enjoy many things today that those 200 years ago might have wished for, but are we any happier?
True happiness for most seems elusive. The Bible acknowledges that life is fraught with problems - original sin has tainted many of the areas of life.
History is the long, terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.
Since we live in a broken world, we need to gain understanding of the things that really matter, and the greatest of these is a mind that is attuned to God.
Knowing God gives meaning to life, a sense of purpose, confidence, hope, endurance and a vision of a better life beyond. This mind is at peace with itself and can survive many difficulties.
The apostle Paul wrote: "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:12)
History is replete with stories of great men who have faced difficulties with resolve because of their faith. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his "Letters From Birmingham Jail" and John Bunyan wrote "Pilgrim's Progress from Bedford Jail."
Those martyrs who were burned at the stake in early England faced death gallantly.
There is a difference between fun, joy and settled happiness. Fun and joy are fleeting, but settled happiness is lifelong for those who trust in the Almighty.
As Fanny Crosby has written, "Thou the spring of all my comfort, more than life to me, whom have I on Earth beside thee? Whom in heaven but thee?"
It's something to think about.
Raymond F. Smith is president of Strong Families of Victoria.