If it makes you happy
It can’t be that bad
If it makes you happy
Then why the hell are you so sad
–If It Makes You Happy – Sheryl Crow
This song has become something of an anthem to many I know who adhere to the philosophy that if it feels good, or brings you pleasure then it can’t be bad. They focus on the line, “If it makes you happy, It can’t be that bad.” The very first time I heard this song, however, I heard something else. I was struggling with life in general, in a period of aimlessness and thinking there had to be more. I had chased pleasure and found the roses had long, sharp and poisonous thorns. I was self medicating with a steady diet of whisky and beer. The line, “If it makes you happy, Then why the hell are you so sad” seemed to leap out at me. I looked around at my companions who belted out the chorus as they popped ecstasy tabs and drank copious amounts of alcohol. I saw was with them as they crashed from their high and I thought to myself, “If this is making us happy, then why are we all so miserable?”
Sometime about then I reread John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I realized we’d all be had. We’d bought the lie and the thief and had stolen our joy. We were dying, destroying ourselves, miserable and pretending we were all having a blast. I wanted more. I wanted life. I remembered what my life had been like when I had been focused on Christ rather than myself.
I can’t say that I recommitted myself to Christ at that moment and ever since then life’s been grand. That’s not the story that Scripture presents. Anyone who tells you to just give it all to Christ and He’ll make it all better has missed the point of the Gospel. What I can say is that Christ had never left me. He was there with me. That moment of illumination was one of many steps that Christ used to draw me back to himself over a long period of time. Life continues to present struggles. Depression is still a demon I wrestle with. I’ve found other ways of self-medicating, and Christ continues to walk with me, reveal these functional saviors to me and bringing me to place of repentance – over and over and over.
I do have life, and have it abundantly. I don’t always feel it, but it’s always there. And I know that since I didn’t do anything to deserve or earn this life (Ephesians 2:8-9) so there’s no way I can lose it. It is Christ who has taken hold of me (Philippians 3:12) and He will never leave me, nor abandon me (Hebrews 13:5).
This life is offered to everyone who’ll accept it (John 1:12).