Right Here

Pastor Daron CrossLife Blog

One study about happiness used an app to track what makes people happy or unhappy. Participants ranked rush hour traffic commutes as the highest cause of anxiety and anger that robs them of happiness. 

That makes sense, but maybe this doesn’t. The study also concluded that people were more frustrated if they were thinking about something else in rush hour traffic. 

The study called it “mind-wandering.” So, when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, thinking about sitting on a beach with your toes in the sand isn’t going to make you happy. It’ll just make you realize you can’t really go to that happy place right now because 1,832 vehicles ahead of you are in the way. Ugh!

No matter how hard you try, you can’t think yourself into a different place. So, the study concluded, find your happiness right there. Finding happiness in your present circumstances, without needing to think about something else or change the circumstances, is called contentment. 

The apostle Paul wrote a book full of happiness while in prison, because he practiced contentment in the moment, in the place where he was. How? “The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5), he explained.

As in, right by his side, in prison with him. Jesus. Right there. That’s a good place!

When you complain about your situation, when you blame others for your problems and play the victim, when you self-medicate on alcohol, over busyness or screen binging to hide from stress, you are telling your Lord that he’s not near, that he can’t help. 

When your prayers focus only on changing your circumstances and not also yielding to your Lord by changing your heart, changing your mind, and changing your opinion, then you are telling your Lord that he is not really Lord but you are and that the world revolves around you, not him. 

So what does your Lord do? He stays. He doesn’t leave you in your selfishness and sin. He comes even closer, like he came as Immanuel, “God with us.” He is near. Always near. 

Nearer to you than anyone else. Nearer to you than your circumstances. Nearer to you than your worst sins and fears. Nearer to you than your best ideas and dreams. Near now. Near forever.

Wherever you are.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I need to be more content, and I can because you are near. You are right here, wherever I am. Attract my faith away from complaints and frustrations, to believe more in you, your presence, and your peace. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Psalm 139:7-12. You’ll be glad you did.