No I am not quoting Phil from Duck Dynasty. Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to talk with many people in a counseling, pastoral, mentoring, friendship, or just an older guy talking with others kind of setting. One by one I heard these bright, articulate, spiritually aware people repeat a theme that became quite alarming to me. At one point it became kind of humorous to me. I was thinking, “Am I on some kind of hidden camera show where they see how long it takes to push Pastor Sam over the edge?” Ok, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I happened enough for me to clearly see a pattern. The statements went something like this:
I am just not happy! And I know God wants me to be happy, right?
I am not happy with my life. And I am sure God wants me happy.
I am not happy with my husband/wife. I have aright to be happy.
My job just does not make me happy anymore. And being happy is what is important!
If I could live _____________, then I would be happy.
If they would just ____________ , then I could be happy.
It’s been so long since I have been happy, I think God has forgotten me.
I used to be happy until ___________.
When I am happy I don’t __________ (say, do, think, feel) things like this.
Seriously, I could go on and on with statements related to Happy. I heard so much of this well, it just did not make me HAPPY! It was like the ultimate goal of life is to be HAPPY! And certainly God’s first priority and greatest concern in the universe must be making and keeping us HAPPY. Right? Let’s keep in mind that Happy is not a right or an entitlement. There has never been a guarantee that we will never have problems, or difficulties. Just the opposite. In the tough times character is forged, faith is strengthened, and maturity developed.
But, before you write me off as some cranky old fart, seeking to rid the world of Happy, let me say I love HAPPY. I like to be Happy. I hope everyone had a Happy July 4th. Almost daily I send out wishes for people to have a Happy Birthday, or Anniversary. I am happy to see people doing well, living good lives, being blessed with children (and even more so with grandchildren). I am not against Happy, I am for it and so is God.
Here are a few thoughts for consideration:
- God is Happy – It is part of who He is. Throughout the Bible we see Him rejoicing, dancing, jumping, singing, even laughing. God is love and one of His expressions of love is Happy.
- God wants people Happy, but it is not His only desire – Not even His first desire. God desires for people to have life, be healthy, be filled with love, full of joy and so much more. God knows that for people happiness often depends on happenings. Something goes wrong or bad and people are not happy. This is understandable. Not everything is good or is going to make us happy. However, in every circumstance and situation we can still have joy. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that “…the joy of the Lord is your strength. His joy we carry us through every situation and ultimately lead us to happy.
- The pathway to happiness begins with God – Psalm 144:15 says “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.” I think this is the key. Is God our Lord? Do we live with the belief that God is here to serve our wants, needs desires? Is His job to keep us Happy? Or is it our privilege to live for Him? To serve Him? To please Him? Do we truly believe that in living for God, by His Spirit, for His glory, it will be for our best? We should because it does!
- Happy is a choice – It begins by choosing to put God first in our life. It is much more than just a positive attitude, it is a choice. I am sure we have all met people who “choose” not to be happy, even in the best of times. It always amazes me at how quickly that kind of influence can affect others. The cloud of negativity, ingratitude, grumbling and complaining seeks to overshadow all near it. No matter what situation or circumstance chose to put your confidence in God. Good or bad chose to trust God, His love and His plan for you. Even, when in the most difficult conditions chose to have faith in God’s timing, His ability to change things on your behalf and to change you in the process.
Make “God first” your life goal; you will get “HAPPY” and so much more. Let God pour His life, His Love and His joy into you… and then go share it! You will be happy you did and so will others!
Have a very “Happy” day!