Southminster Presbyterian Church

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Is God Always Happy?

Four Mini-Sermons on the Emotions of God

By Ken Onstot

Part 1: What makes God Happy?

Scripture: Luke 15:1-7

 

What makes God happy?

It’s not that profound.

God is happy

When people are found.

 

When people whose lives

Have gotten off track

Hear good news of God’s love

And begin to come back.

 

When all kinds of people

Of every nation and race

Rejoice in God’s gifts

And are quick to embrace,

Celebrating together

The good news of God’s grace.

 

That’s what makes God happy.

 

But some are not happy

About the people God seeks;

The Pharisees in Jesus’ time

Thought his followers were freaks.

 

Jesus welcomed people with issues,

Tax collectors and sinners,

People who even at their best

Were not what you call winners.

 

Some are not happy

About the people coming to God,

They see a sinner coming to church

As a spiritual fraud.

 

But from heaven comes a cheer:

God rejoices that you’re here;

God wants you here to learn and to pray

And to keep one another from going astray.

 

God’s happy you’re here

To praise God above,

And to practice with one another

The discipline of love.

 

But that requires being with people

In the presence of God,

Even those people

You might consider odd.

 

What makes God happy?

Loving God and one another,

Welcoming even people with issues

As your sister or brother.

 

 

Part 2: What makes God mad?

Scripture: Mark 3:1-5

 

What makes God mad?

It’s not just when people are bad,

But when people badly behave

Toward those God wants to save.

 

A broken man came to Jesus for healing

But the crowd in the synagogue

Was rather unfeeling.

They wanted him to go away;

They said, “There is no healing here

On the Sabbath day.”

 

But Jesus was angry,

Which means God was mad;

It hurt him that people were callous;

It also made him sad.

 

But despite their opposition

The hurt man was healed;

Despite the barriers

God’s love was revealed.

 

Still, it makes God angry

When people are hurt,

When they’re insulted or bullied

Or treated like dirt.

When children are orphaned

Or women demeaned;

Or people enslaved

Whom Jesus redeemed.

When we violate promises,

Or betray sacred trusts,

Or use positions of power

To satisfy lusts,

When instead of gratitude

We give into greed,

Or pretend not to see

The people in need,

Then God gets upset,

Like a loving mother,

Whose child has just hit

A sister or brother.

 

God created us for love,

And meant us for good;

So God gets upset

When we don’t do as we should.

 

But God’s anger does not last;

God’s love will abide;

It was for people like us

That on the cross Jesus died,

And when we turn back to God,

His grace is supplied.

 

Part 3: What makes God sad?

Scripture: John 11:32-37

 

What makes God sad?

There is one simple clue;

Ask yourself this question:

What brings sadness to you?

 

Jesus wept because Martha wept,

And so did her sister Mary;

Their brother was dead,

And his body they had to bury.

 

So Jesus cried because his friend had died,

A loved one newly departed.

He shed a tear while standing near

Those who were broken-hearted. 

 

In Jesus, God became flesh

Sharing our joy and grieving,

Not taking away the pain of loss

But helping us keep on believing.

 

But that raises a question,

Asked by both Martha and Mary:

When informed of Lazarus’ illness,

Why then did Jesus tarry?

 

Why did he not come right away,

And stop Lazarus from dying,

Instead of showing four days later,

When Lazarus was already lying… in a tomb?

 

Why does God not prevent

All the world’s suffering and sorrow,

Instead of telling us to wait

For a better tomorrow?

 

We don’t know why.

 

We don’t know why there’s suffering and sorrow,

Tragedy and grief,

Or why illness strikes people

With no sign of relief.

 

We don’t know why

People are taken

In disasters or wars,

Leaving their children forsaken.

 

But we know God does not abandon us,

Nor our sorrows disdain,

For God came into this world,

To share in our pain,

And to walk with us through it

To the life God wants us to gain.

 

What makes God sad?

When his children grieve.

And what makes God glad,

When they still somehow believe.

 

Part 4: How does God want us to feel?

Scripture: I Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

How does God want us to feel?

Always happy?  Always cheery?

Even when circumstances or weather

Seem particularly dreary?

 

No.  Not even God is always happy.

Sometimes God is furious;

Which means it’s okay to be mad

When something happens injurious.

 

It’s okay to be mad,

Or sometimes sad,

There are times when even God

Feels sort of bad.

 

It is not so much a feeling God wants

But an attitude;

In every circumstance God wants for us

Gratitude.

 

This does not mean being happy

About every occasion;

There is nothing happy

About a foreign invasion,

Or a cancerous tumor or a nasty rumor,

Or going blind or losing your mind,

 

To be grateful does not mean

Always to be glad;

It means to see hope

Even in things that are sad.

 

Gratitude is the knowledge

That we’re still in God’s hand,

And that God’s will for our good

Forever will stand.

 

So gratitude looks forward

To what God does at last,

While allowing us to see backward,

At what God’s done in the past.

 

In gratitude we see

That God has always been here,

Even in hurt, even in fear,

Even when losing those we hold dear.

 

Gratitude changes our view

Of the past we regret,

By making us see differently

What we’d rather forget.

 

Gratitude helps us to see

How God never left,

And that even in the future

We will not be bereft.

 

Gratitude is the knowledge

That God reigns above,

And nothing past or future,

Can separate us from his love.

 

"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care."

Psalm 95:6-7