“May all who are godly be HAPPY…” – Psalm 97:12 NLT96
It feels so good to hear the words, “God wants me to be happy.” It feels good to hear that, above all else, He wants me to enjoy life and only wants good things to happen in my life.
But what if that weren’t entirely true. What if God never said that?
See, the problem with believing that God’s supreme goal for me is my happiness, is that I might start to reason that “whatever makes me happy must be right” and “whatever makes me unhappy must be wrong”. With that mindset, any discomfort or delay or inconvenience can’t be God’s will, and so we spend our lives trying to avoid these things, instead of embracing them for what they are: a necessary part of our growth and development.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that bows down at the altar of happiness. Thinking that comfort, money, pleasure and things will make us happier. Yet, ironically it’s making us more miserable than ever.
Of course I do believe that God is not against our happiness. In fact, I believe he delights in our happiness. That when we’re happy I believe it brings Him great joy. Just as I feel delighted when my children experience joy or happiness. But, as Eleanor Roosevelt points out,
“Happiness is not a goal, it’s a by-product”.
When we make our lives solely about pursuing personal happiness, then somehow it remains elusive – we never quite find it. Yet, when we give our lives for something else, something outside of ourselves – God, others, the healing of our world – then we find a joy and contentment and peace that goes beyond mere happiness.
Bottom line: God doesn’t want us to pursue happiness. He wants us to pursue Him.
And in the process find happiness we never knew existed. Happiness that isn’t based on “happenings”. It’s called blessing.