When I was in college, I became aware of just how unhappy I was. I saw no real reason to be unhappy: I was healthy, I had friends, I had parents who loved me, I had food enough and clothing and shelter. But I found that none of these things satisfied me. Life seemed futile and meaningless, and so it was.
I began asking others if they were happy, deep-down happy, but I always got the same negative response. Pretty much universal unhappiness out there in the world.
Now I can look back on that time knowing that happiness for creatures is impossible apart from a restored relationship with the Creator. Those apart from Christ will always try to find happiness in all the worst places. It is only found in Christ, and what a relief unspeakable it was for me to find that in Him!
But even Christians can sometimes find themselves unhappy, which is antithetical to our calling in Christ. Christians can sin and get bogged down and distracted. But we know the way back and the door is always open.
Scripture has a few things to say about happiness. So let’s take a look.
1. Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he (Prov. 16:20). If we are unhappy, it could be we are worrying rather than trusting our good God.
2. He who has mercy on the poor, happy is he (Prov. 14.21). Try this next time you are feeling unhappy: reach out and show mercy to those less fortunate than you.
3. Happy is the man who is always reverent (Prov. 28:14). Have you been honoring, showing respect to, reverencing, fearing the Lord?
4. Happy is he who keeps the law (Prov. 29:18). Oh, ouch. Have you been cutting corners? Telling little lies? Indulging in a little gossip? Not putting things all the way right? That will eat away at your happiness for years to come. Make it right.
5. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God (Psalm 146:5). Consider who it is you have the privilege to call your Father. Hope in Him. Be happy in His help.
6. Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord! (Ps. 144:15). This psalm describes what a blessed culture looks like. When we have a Christian community, we have much to rejoice in. We know who we are. We are not confused or lost. We are God’s people, and that should make us happy.
7. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you; on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified (1 Peter 4:14). This means when you get flack from co-workers, family members, or even strangers at the grocery store for being a Christian, you should realize this is the sign of God’s blessing. This includes those rude comments about your (more than two) children. Remember in such times that the spirit of God and glory is resting on you. That should make you happy.
8. Finally, we should remember that happiness is a great benefit to us and a means of glorifying God. He is the source of all happiness, and we return thanks to Him. Happiness is joy, blessedness, and contentment, and these things should characterize our lives.