A mission trip to Hong Kong with two Chinese friends whet my appetite for Chinese culture, cuisine, and language.
Our family reaches out to international students from our local university. Some stay with us when the dorms close. Others visit to experience everyday life in an American home, prepare and compare recipes, practice English, and decorate for and learn about our holidays. A few have become an informal part of our family and maintain contact after they leave. The majority of those students speak Chinese as their first language.
In spite of all this exposure, my mastery of the Chinese language is lacking. One symbol I do recognize translates as “double happiness.” Frequently associated with wishes for newlyweds because of the combining of two lives and two families, the two symbols for happiness become one.
Although not a part of the original meaning, that symbol reminds me of the difference in happiness and joy. Because happiness depends on our circumstances, it comes and goes. If I’m having a good day, I’m happy. If everything’s going wrong, I’m not. Genuine joy remains with us regardless of our situation.
I want more than a good feeling when life goes well. I desire something lasting—something that will see me through the inevitable tragedies and struggles of life. But I often find myself rushing around in a dozen directions, trying to get everything done. Almost like a toddler saying, “By myself,” I fail to slow down long enough to ask God what He wants to do through me. I trade the joy only God can give for a few moments of personal control, followed by frustration and fatigue.
My head and heart tell me to follow God—to unite my life with and experience the double happiness made possible through Jesus. Granting God total control remains the one perfect way to fully understand the possibilities of endless joy.
Choose “double happiness” by releasing every part of your life to Jesus.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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