This is a bit dated but can you guess who said these words? “Happiness is not on my list of priorities. I just deal with day-to-day things. If I’m happy, I’m happy – and if I’m not, I don’t know the difference. You know these are yuppie words, happiness and unhappiness. It’s not happiness or unhappiness; it’s either blessed or unblessed. As the Bible says, ‘Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.’ Now, that must be a happy man. Knowing that you are the person you were put on earth to be – that’s much more important than just being happy.”

I’ve met a lot of unhappy people. If happiness depends on circumstances, it doesn’t take much to be unhappy. Happiness seems to come and go, turn on a dime. It seems we have to have something far deeper and more lasting than happiness.

I’ve never met an unblessed person. I’ve met plenty of people who either ignore their blessings or feel they are somehow owed more. I’ve met people who have chosen to focus on the pain and disappointment of life and never quite see that, even when the storms are fierce, that good can result. People who have experienced tragedy and suffering often speak of lessons learned and character strengthened.

Paul wrote to the Romans: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they are good for us – they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love” (Romans 5:3-5).

Nobody said it was going to be easy or pain-free. Life can be cruel, crushing our spirits under the weight of hurt and difficulty. Yet, we don’t have to face the hardships without hope. Our blessings include ourselves – mind, spirit, body; our friends and family; our faith community; and most importantly, the God who will sustain us.

You are blessed. Count your blessings. Start now. I dare you to stop.

By the way, the man quoted above gave an interview to Rolling Stones magazine in 1991. When the interviewer asked him if he was happy, that’s how Bob Dylan responded.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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