I watched this movie some time ago called The Pursuit of Happiness that spoke to me. In the movie, there was this man who was facing poverty, and he needed work. After completed failed attempts to be successful, losing his home and wife, and being stuck with his kid in a subway with no place to go, he thought about the pursuit of happiness, a constitutional right guaranteed by the Constitution. We are all familiar with the saying that all individuals are given "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The right that was replaced with the pursuit of happiness was "ownership of property", but that is irrelevant to this story unless I come by to talk about it later. However, this is strictly an analysis of the pursuit of happiness.
Anyway, the man said that maybe a man is not given happiness at all in his life. "They just have the right to pursue it." He thought about that for most of the movie, and it made me get to thinking too. If a man has the pursuit of happiness, he does not necessarily have it. He is simply chasing it, like the main character in the movie who never gave up. He needed a job to be happy and earn money to put toward his son and his well being. He kept running all around town chasing job opportunities and completing job applications by night with a flashlight, sometimes going up to the stairwell to get some light when he did not have a flashlight. His son slept in bed. He also kept running from job interview to job interview, never giving up hope. Because if he gave up hope, he and his son were as good as dead. Hope is the basis of every person's life. Hope is what lets a person survive.
Now I have written a lot of pieces about hope, and this looks like it is going to be another one. First of all, what is hope? My dictionary says that hope is "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best." It also means "to believe, desire, or trust." These few words inspire such inspiration in my mind. To believe, to have faith in God, to trust someone…. How good does it feel to be able to really, truly, trust someone? The feeling, if you have it, is great. You can hardly ever trust humans fully, because all humans make mistakes. No one person is completely perfect? Or is there? There is Jesus, our God. He is infallible, He is someone we can trust with our lives. God will never fail us. Never. He forgives us with all his heart on everything we do, and the only thing He asks in return is that we follow his commandments. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love one another." This, Jesus proclaims, is the greatest commandment, above each one of the other nine. They are all important, but it you follow this one, the other ones will just come to you. You cannot love God if you break His commandments. Okay, then, what does this all mean, you may be saying. What does this have to do with hope? Well, God is hope. God is love. God is peace. God is faith. God is joy. God is Christ. God is Everything. God created Everything. Alright. So what? Back to the dictionary definition, I can read that that hope is when you have this positive feeling that things will turn out okay. Like the man in the movie, The Pursuit of Happiness. He hoped for the best, didn't he? He never gave up, no matter how many tries it took. And, spoiler alert, he eventually found a job. So the hope paid off. Pursuing happiness paid off. Things turned out for the best. So, what I want you to get out of reading this is, well, simply put that God wants us to never give up, and to keep going, no matter what obstacles come across our path.
Take something that happened today on the Meritt Parkway. I find it the perfect example. In this October snowstorm of 2011, a tree fell across the road in front of someone who was driving at a speed of 35 miles per hour. Now, obviously, he slammed on the brakes, hoping for the best. His wife was screaming, and this man, the driver, was hoping, praying, that they would not hit the tree with their brand new car. Well, God answered this prayer and they stopped a few feet in front of the trunk. The man never gave up hope, and he was saved. But, now the question was, how do I get out from here? The tree was blocking both of the two lanes, and traffic was forming. He could not back up to the next exit. Just to relate this experience back to the point of my story, think of the tree as being the barrier between the pursuit of happiness and happiness. This car was on the pursuit of happiness side of the tree, and he wanted to get to the other side, the happiness side. This was certainly a dilemma. Well, after thinking for awhile in the snow, asking God what he should do, he was just about ready to give up, thinking that God would not answer him. At this last minute, a private owner jeep came lo and behold driving down the shoulder of the highway. This jeep had a snowplow on the front, it just happened to be there. Now the driver of this Jeep had no idea what was at the front of the traffic jam, at least I don't think he did. Well, after thinking, the Jeep went right up to the tree, and pushed with the snowplow. Nothing happened. You may be thinking, what point will this serve? Well, the driver kept at it for twenty minutes with no result. It took him about fifty tries until the branch moved. Just an inch. But it moved. So this driver kept at it, and after about an hour more of this, he had cleared one of the two lanes, and the highway was passable again. Amazing, right? He never gave up hope. Finally, God came through and did the rest. God will always answer your prayers, like the first driver who almost got hit by the tree as it was falling. And if you do not give up, it will pay off. You may have done something fifty times with no result. But you never know when you are just that one push away from victory. You may be just one more away from God answering your prayer, even if it is not the way you expect. Never give up hope. Always try, try, again.
Alright, so what is the pursuit of happiness? It is the ability to pursue happiness, in a matter of fact. It is the ability to chase what God laid out for you in life, what your destiny is. Yes, everything relates back to God. I can't help it, since he is the Supreme ruler. Now if you don't agree with my religion, I'm sorry, there's nothing I can say against you, cause I respect everyone. And you probably haven't read this far anyway if this is true, so I will continue. Anyway, God laid out the basics for what he wanted you to do in life, and no matter how long it takes, you will eventually wind up there. Now I wouldn't exactly call this fatalism, cause its not happening out of fate. It's happening out of God. Take me for example. My career goal is to become a minster at a Christian Protestant church somewhere, and hopefully run my own someday. Now, at first, even just a few years ago, I always thought I wanted to be a teacher, like my sister, and a mathematician like my uncle. So I wrote down that I would be a math teacher. I loved numbers at the time. I decided this in second grade, way too early to know what you want to be when you grow up. However, it is always nice to have something to think about and have dreams about your future career goal. My favorite subject was even math, up until a few years ago, in eighth grade. I got started in the Confirmation process, read the Bible, and suddenly God told me to become a minister. And that's been my career goal ever since. Not to say it might not change, still. But I really find this the thing I want to do, especially since I have gotten so many complements on my sermons that I give at my church. Pursuit of happiness is what you will find yourself doing in life. Pursuit of happiness is what we are working toward all through school and college. We are on the pursuit of happiness side of the tree until we find our life goal and actually begin our first real career. And I'm not talking about a job in the supermarket or at a restaurant. I am talking about what we will be for most of our lives, our real career goal. Everything that it takes to get to this point is the pursuit of happiness. Then this leads to getting a house and maybe having a family, which could also be argued for being part of the pursuit of happiness. It takes many tries to move that heavy log that seems to be sitting in the way. The log may be schoolwork, temptation, or debt. A parents' divorce, moving, not having friends, the list goes on and on. But we can overcome those things if we work together and trust others, and most of all, believe in God. Even something as big and strong as a Jeep cannot move a branch right away that fell right into our path. It may seem like there is no way out, but there always is. There is always a way out. Remember that. There is always a way out. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. All we need to do is turn to God for help, and he will be there for us. We must never give up on the Lord our God. He will give us love, peace, joy, hope, faith, and Christ. This message was only about hope. Think of all the other points that can be made with the other words listed in my previous sentence. I can talk about them forever, but for now, I have taken enough of your time. Go, and search diligently for your hope, and when you have found it, bring God word, so that He may also go and rejoice with you. Rejoice, for hope is found. Rejoice, for God will never fail you. Rejoice, and never give up hope on God again, for he will always answer your prayers in his own way. Thanks be to God, and Amen.