"I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity." C.S. Lewis, God In The Dock
I know plenty of non-Christians who are perfectly happy. They find happiness in their work, or their families, even things like a good bottle of wine. Too often, I think we Christians present Christianity as something that will make people happy. When presented in such a way, too often people think to themselves that they are happy enough. In fact, I know several people who became Christians and their lives went to hell in a hand basket; life became so much more difficult for them.
Indeed, sometimes I think that Christianity should be sold with a warning label. I think that life is harder as a Christian. I think we experience more heartache and more pain. The road of faith is a narrow road, full of potholes and thorns. The reason for this is because God is changing us to become more Christlike. The path to becoming more Christlike is one which includes, "sharing in His sufferings." Also, to love more deeply, we need to be more vulnerable and open to hurts.
Even so, the Christian life is better. There are yearnings within each of us that cannot be filled by anything but God. Christianity allows us to experience joy, rather than happiness, and, as we mature in Christ that joy can be experienced no matter the circumstances in our life. There is a peace that pervades, which the world cannot understand. And love...we are able to blossom because of His love for us, an unconditional love that is life changing. Because of His love for us, we are able to love those around us deeper. The person who is not a Christian may think that they are happy, yet they do not experience the deep seated joy, peace and love that Christians should.
In other writings, C.S. Lewis uses a great example of this whole idea. A boy is playing in a mud puddle and is perfectly happy. His father comes and wants to take him to the sea shore. Having never been to the beach, and being relatively happy, the boy has no desire to go to leave his mud puddle. Non-Christians are playing in mud puddles, when God has so much better planned for them. Being relatively happy, they are unwilling to leave their mud puddle.
This is one reason that God reaches out to the downtrodden, the poor, and the broken-hearted -- they realize their need for a Savior. When we are reaching out to people who are happy, we must try and show them that they are not as "happy" as they could be. It is tricky and hard. In no case, however, should we tell people that the life of a Christian is more comfortable because it simply is not.
What do you think?