Surely one of the great struggles of humans is our inability to summon happiness. This state that ranges from great delight to pure bliss or intense pleasure is THE ONE that so many of us believe to be the most important pursuit of life.
In fact, happiness has often been named the goal of life. After all, we begin every new year wishing each other, “Happy New Year!”
For me personally, there are days when I find happiness arduous. And I wake up missing that elated state of being. On mornings like that, I pause for a few minutes before getting up. In that short pause, I go through my schedule. And then I drink my coffee slowly and remind myself who I belong to and why I do what I do.
Indeed if we are honest, we will acknowledge that we often find happiness challenging. It is somewhat elusive and momentary. As a pastor, I hear more about the opposite state and find unhappiness a more frequent companion for many.
Solomon has much to say about this in his musing in Ecclesiastes. He too couldn’t make happiness a permanent companion despite having immense power, wealth, pleasure, accomplishment and knowledge (Ecc. 1:2, 14; 2:1, 11, 17; 4:4; 5:10). After savouring life to the best of his abilities, he surmised that everything was meaningless.
Perhaps you find yourself echoing Solomon’s sentiment as you come to the end of another year. You might even be engaging in a mad struggle to capture ‘enough’ happiness to make life worth living.
If you are feeling trapped in a dark tunnel of despair struggling to find a beam of happiness, it might comfort you to know that the psalmist found himself in the same place. However, he didn’t allow himself to stay downcast. Instead, he placed his hope in God.
Likewise, Solomon despite his desperation with life conceded that ultimately it is our relationship with God that fuels our happiness.
Keeping Our Eyes On God
Happiness is to be had if we are willing to keep our eyes on God.
This happiness has little to do with the temporary feeling of elation that we desperately seek. This happiness is not always boisterous. It is not necessarily a display of fireworks or painting the town red.
This inner delight is much more substantial than the good feeling that comes and goes. It is more than fleeting moments of pleasure. It is not based on circumstances or people.
This happiness is founded on the knowledge of the goodness of God. It is the awe of participating in God’s purpose. It is the deep satisfaction that our life has meaning. It is the unexplainable joy that we experience when we do good to others.
This is the happiness that God has for us! This is the happiness that God has for you!
A Deep Satisfaction Of Purpose
The days will attempt to bring us down for sure. And we will be tempted to believe that if we could have what we want or gain the accolades of others, we will be truly happy. Yet Solomon and scores of high achievers, and indeed many more to come will prove this a blatant deception. So often it is at the height of having it all, that the deepest despair besets the greatest of man.
God does not expect us to be in cloud nine unceasingly! But as we keep our eyes on God and intentionally live out God’s purpose, we will experience deep delight that overwhelms our soul.
If our heart is taken by the presence and power of God working out his purpose in our life, we will find happiness a more consistent companion.
If we redefine happiness from a temporal mood to a deep satisfaction of purpose in God, happiness does not have to be elusive or momentary.
With our heart rested solidly on God’s goodness, we can beam with positive intention even when we find things or people difficult. We can triumph over troubled emotions.
We can summon happiness when we are willing to acknowledge that our purpose far outweighs our momentary emotions.
So on days when you find yourself downcast emotionally, don’t give up on happiness. Pause and look to God. His banner over you is love. His purpose for you is worth living for. Remind yourself who you belong to, declare your purpose and summon happiness!
May God and his purpose be your happiness. And here’s to a Happier New Year!