Contend Earnestly: Happiness Found on House?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Happiness Found on House?

I don't usually write these kinds of posts, at least I don't think I do. But, last night I was watching House (one of my favorite shows) and found some commentary very interesting. Let me set up this episode for you. A famous cancer research doctor gets sick and is admitted to the hospital. The doctors find out that she has actually quit her career to learn how to cook from a very famous chef. The doctors at the hospital are floored because this doctor was only 8 to 10 years away from curing a specific kind of cancer. They couldn't believe it and asked her "why?" She said that the reason was because she realized that she hadn't lived with happiness yet. She quit because she didn't want to die never being happy.

This was an interesting thought as you see the episode unfold and listen to this doctor who started spouting off lines like she was a fortune cookie. You can watch the episode here when available. It is called "Greater Good".

The odd thing that was put forth in the episode is that this doctor was finding happiness in merely switching jobs. Her career is what defined not only her life, but defined whether or not she was happy or not. I know a lot of people like their jobs and such, but I have to say that I have never woken up from sleep and stated, "I can't wait to go to my happy place today!" And I consider my job one that I enjoy as much as anyone could as far as a job goes. But, I don't define my happiness in it.

The first time I heard about functional saviours was in David Wells' book "Above All Earthy Pow'rs." He speaks in the book about all of us having our functional hells and functional saviours. For this woman in this episode of House, her hell became her job and so another job, that she seemingly loved, would become her functional saviour. The question then comes, "What happens when the new job becomes her hell again?"

Many of us have functional hells within our lives. Whether it is a dead end job, family sickness, money problems, weight issues, etc. We think if we could only find a way out of these hells, we would have a better life, a more fulfilled and happy life. The problem is that all these are finite and are not the answer to life's most basic problem stated in Ecclesiastes 3:11. Solomon tells us that God has put eternity into every man's heart. So, what we stupid humans try to do is solve this eternal longing with finite things that pass away. We are happy for a little while when we get the new car, new job, lose weight, get a new cell phone, etc. But, then these things get old and they are no longer exciting. We need something new, something to fulfill this eternity in our heart. I honestly believe this is why the divorce rate is so high. People try to fulfill this longing with a new spouse and want something new, instead of someone that God has given to us to bring us sustaining happiness.

We are always going to be searching for this functional saviour, this happiness in things if we do not turn our lives over to Christ. We will continually be disappointed, continually lose our happiness if we turn to this life for our hope and for our desires to be fulfilled. What one notices is that for our joy to be full, for our life to be filled with the eternal desire we must have something, or better put, Someone who is eternal to fulfill our eternal want. Logic would tell us that if we have an eternal desire it could only be fulfilled with an eternal thing, or in our case, an eternal Person.

Almost hidden away in the Psalms is the answer:

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11

God is the answer to our eternal want. This is why we find in 1 Peter 3:18 that Christ died for us to bring us to God. He didn't die to give us temporal things, but the Eternal One. Anything short of the Eternal One as our gift of salvation would leave us way short. This theme of our joy being made full is continued into the New Testament when our Bridegroom came. John the Baptist said his joy was full by just hearing the voice of Christ. Peter says that those who haven't seen Christ are still filled with "joy inexpressible and full of glory" because salvation has come to them.

God is our joy. If God is our focus, if He is our goal, if He is our life, if God is our gift, then our joy cannot be stolen. But, the second our eyes go away from God and onto things of this world, our joy can be snatched.

We started with Solomon, now let's end with Solomon. He tells us that God has put eternity into every man's heart and after Solomon tried to fill that hole with everything in this life, this is what his conclusion is:

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

The question comes: What are you filling your heart with? Christ or the world?

I know this was just a TV show, but television is usually a great depiction of our current culture. Our current culture is still seeking what the ancients sought: happiness. The sad thing is that they believe that this can be found in this world, when in actuality it can only be found when we have the promise of being in the presence of our God.


Dr. Mike Kear said...

Excellent post, bro.

I watched the show and had similar thoughts.

Martin said...

Good post. Keller is very good on this. Check out this article on the centrality of the Gospel:

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