These matters are just the tip of the iceberg. One thing I thoroughly appreciated about Randy's writing in the Heaven book was that he took the time to systematically address readers' potential questions, concerns, or objections regarding the point he was trying to make. While this made for some level of redundancy in a way, it also allows the reader to look at the position from many angles and truly discern whether this is a belief that can stand up to the scrutiny of real life struggles. With a whole book about happiness, one has got to raise the question, "What if I've experienced depression?" This is something I have personal experience with, so I was glad to see the topic was not treated insensitively or omitted.
Nanci and I give ourselves and each other permission to let unhappiness sink in when we hear bad news. We don't pretend all is unwell when it isn't. But knowing God's commands to rejoice in him and his all-sufficient power to enable us to do so, we meditate on his Word and call on him to impart his gladness. (page 270)
So should we feel guilty for being unhappy, struggling with depression, and being sad at the suffering in our lives and others' lives? No, but we should feel a liberating hope that Jesus, who knows infinitely more about suffering than we do, offers us and calls us to a greater happiness than we've ever known. (page 73)
After I finished reading this, I immediately placed an order for the longer version of the book. One thing I appreciated greatly about his book, Heaven, was that after I had finished reading all of that information and digesting it, I truly did have a different view of Heaven and it brightened my outlook about my time on earth. I think when I read a shorter book, I don't give the concepts enough time in meditation, so they don't always filter down from my head to my heart and become real rooted truths I live from. I'm excited to get the longer version of the Happiness book in the mail soon because I think it will help address some small traces of legalism which have crept into my worldview via religion. On the reading for day 48, the question is "Can feasts and celebrations please God?" While I believe they can and doubted I'd find much food for thought in this selection, I was wrong.
For many of us, celebrating suffers from guilt by association. The logic goes like this:
• Since immorality is bad, sex is bad.
• Since drunkenness is bad, alcohol is bad.
• Since laziness is bad, rest is bad.
• Since greed is bad, money is bad.
We might as well say that since gluttony is bad, food is bad; and since drowning is bad, water is bad.
***In the interest of full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. I am not required to give a positive review, my opinions are genuine.