I had my 30th birthday party last Saturday night and I know what you’re expecting, dear regular reader… You’re expecting angst, and lots of it, albeit perhaps with a happy ending. You’re expecting me to pontificate on the difficulty of not drinking too much, of witnessing to non-Christians and the like… We have certainly been there before, after all. However, this time is different. My party was a disconcertingly angst-free zone! So… where then has it gone?


Well this ties in to the whole idea of happiness, and the fact I fear I’ve become locked into a certain ethos of late. You can see it here. It basically runs along the lines of ‘God never promises us happiness in this life. We shouldn’t expect it. Few people’s lives are truly happy as we live in a fallen and sin-infected world. Happiness doesn’t truly come until the next world’. Well that might be true, but it can quickly supplant joy and, as my wife ever reminds me, it can be tiring living around a ‘half glass empty’ type of person. I was fascinated then by two conversations this week…


The first was with my sister-in-law. She is a Christian, and has lost two beloved brothers in their youth to disease. However, she looked at me and my theories as if I was strange indeed. ‘Of course God wants us to be happy’ she said… The truth is probably somewhere in between. I still maintain that an expectation of happiness can leave us feeling betrayed when bad times afflict us. However, I’ll concede that He doesn’t necessarily accurse us either. My riches may be stored in heaven (well they’re certainly not in my bank account!), but He has still been kind enough to grant me immense blessings… I could probably do with focussing on them and letting them affect my mood more often.


The second was a brief conversation with a Christian friend during my party. He had just accessed my blog and, being of a more Charismatic persuasion himself, seemed both bemused and amused at the constant self-lacerating analysis he found there. His verdict was ‘you’re doing OK by the sound of it, and you really should worry less’. Again, I reserve my right to pursue high standards and bemoan my sinful failure to reach them, but, okay, he does have a point. I do sometimes end up appearing simply neurotic. Joy doesn’t have to simply lurk in the background…


Which brings us back to my party. Maybe a couple of years ago I would have had cause to fret about the collision of my Christian and non-Christian worlds. Perhaps then I was a different person depending on which of the two I was addressing. However, I think I’m generally just me nowadays… Drinking will always be a challenge, but not so much on Saturday – take Christianity out of the equation and I still think I would simply have wanted to enjoy chatting with as many people as possible and remembering what I’d said. There were a great bunch of mates there, after all… You know what?? I just had a brilliant time – really great. Everyone came, everyone seemed to have fun, everyone got on well with one another… My better half had great support after her recent bad news and has been infinitely more cheerful since. Come 2am as the last survivors sentimentally enjoyed the last few tunes, and I had a complimentary drink with the owner, I was about as satisfied as can be with proceedings. Hooray for God’s blessings, his provision of mates and parties. This really isn’t a bad old life, after all… (and thank you to anyone who was there).


NOTABLE PS: In case anyone doubts God’s provision in testing times: The neuro-surgeon to whom Nina has been referred is a) a parent at my school b) the Christian father of two of the very few lads to attend the Christian Union I jointly attempt to run! c) Willing to have his secretary spend time at once digging out my wife’s scan in order to deal with it at once. It’s great to feel well looked after!

For a more ironic look at providence, note the fact I made a doctor’s appointment today regarding my ongoing ankle concerns. Just as I worried that there wasn’t enough wrong with it to still warrant the appointment, I this morning tripped on the stairs and ruined it all over again. I will now limp heavily into the doctor’s surgery!


1 comment so far

  1. Tom Stanbury on

    I enjoy your blog for the humour as much as the deep introspection. The witty anecdote lightens what can be quite heavy stuff. So the PS was serious but amusing all the same.
    I think I agree God with your sister in law. Surely God does want us to be happy. What is it to be blessed? if not happy.
    Your party was fun, sorry I didn’t have the legs, head to alst until 2:00 am.
    It is great in present circumstances you and Nina are acknowledging God as God.

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