Sorrows and pains are often part and parcel for many people living in this fallen sin cursed world. People respond differently to adversity.
Some take trials and tribulations in their stride and emerge stronger while others collapse and end in tragedy.
The recent death of a young man at his training camp who was depressed due to troubles in the family is a reminder of the frailty in this life.
While we observed such tragedies and adversities people face in their daily lives, the observation made by Dr. Lee Wei Ling is noteworthy.
She observed her colleagues having come to terms with their mentally challenged child and how their faith in the Christian God helped them overcome adversity in lives.
She remarked how as an atheist she might cope with misfortunes and her emotional response would depend on how she views her situation. She talked about being stoic philosophically might help overcome adversity in life.
She then questioned whether it was wise to consider the American’s ideal of pursuit of happiness as an inalienable right. As an Adj Professor and Senior Advisor to the National Neuroscience Institute, she must have seen countless cases of misfortunes in humanity. Hence she commented that sometimes it was not easy to be happy.
She is right!
Job 5:7: Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
Job 14:1: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
She saw many truths in this life and there was no answer to the many problems man has to face. She also realized that wealth on its own won’t bring happiness and as such, she won’t use Chinese New Year greetings “Gong Xi Fa Cai” because she understood this meant to wish that person to gain great wealth. She commented that accumulating wealth is an endless pursuit in self-gratification with no meaningful purpose in life.
She is spot on again!
Psalms 62:10: Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.
Proverb 23:5: Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
Proverb 27:24: For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
Below are her closing thoughts.
Happiness, in whatever form one sees it, becomes more elusive the harder one tries to pursue it. That’s why my personal aim is much more realistic: All I ask for is calmness and contentment. These at least are partially within my control.
I don’t believe pursuing happiness is an effective way to achieve happiness. By behaving well, and by helping our fellow humans negotiate the obstacles that are part of life are more effective ways to become happy. Doing so will make the people around us happy as well. There is nothing profound in this, but sometimes simple solutions can achieve what complex thought cannot.
She is right on the money again!
Proverb 11:25: The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
1 Timothy 6:6: But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Sometimes, an atheist talks more sense than any superficial Christian on the street.
Isn’t it ironical that sometimes, atheist could be practising Christian in philosophy and outlook in life while Christians could be practising atheist in their manner of life?
What Dr. Lee probably wasn’t aware of is that her philosophy with regard to overcoming adversity has a biblical basis.
The Bible warns against the madness in meaningless pursuit of wealth.
Ecclesiastes 5:10: He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
Luke 12:15: And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
The Bible commands Christians to practise self-denial.
1 Timothy 6:17: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
The Bible exhorts Christians to be content.
Philippians 4:11: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
1 Timothy 6:8: And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Hebrews 13:5: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
The Bible teaches Christians to live by faith and trust in the Lord.
Romans 12:12: Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Philippians 4:19: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Proverb 16:20: He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
So now you might wonder why some Christians are always unhappy! They fail to heed scriptural admonition.
John 16:33: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Proverb 3:13: Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
Proverb 14:21: He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Hence, the pursuit of happiness seen through the lens of this atheist is more insightful than average Christians who seldom read the scriptures and apply scriptural truths in their lives
Here is the article More to Life than the Pursuit of Happiness
My desire for Dr. Lee is to come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ who alone can give her true inner peace.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)