July 11, 2019
“Does God want me to be happy?”
This question is often buried in our heads, unresolved. We shy away from this subject, probably because we think God is in the serious business of running the world, and bringing it up seems shallow, unholy, and even inappropriate.
But the reality is we all want to be happy. Man’s pursuit of happiness is as ancient as Adam; our desire for joy predates the Fall. Nevertheless, our limited understanding blurs our capacity to define “happiness” in its essence.
We are then left seeking (but never finding) joy in the temporal.
Because we must look to the absolute, inexhaustible Source.
Absolute happiness exists in God. The word “blessed” in 1 Timothy 1:11 speaks of God being happy.
God is both happy and the source of happiness.
Too often, we view God as either a gloomy, stiff judge or a frustrated, cranky Father whose needs we need to meet. We are deeply troubled by our unbiblical belief that God is unfeeling, and we must be so, or else we would be spanked for it. We think we cannot come to Him as messy or candid as we are. We must first be whole and happy.
But God lacks nothing. He has no deficiency, no unfulfilled needs. He has been and always will be eternally and perfectly complete and satisfied, within Himself. Where there is an eternal reservoir of love, excellence, wisdom, power, peace, and more, there also is never-ending happiness. God’s happiness is full circle. Nothing can add to it; nothing can take it away (Acts 17:24,25; Romans 11:35).
Therefore, our confidence is that God is the most self-satisfied of all beings that He expresses His fullness in allowing us to taste and see His goodness. God is the absolute giver of every good gift—yes, including happiness.
God is incredibly happy, and He wants us to be happy in Him. Our desire to be joyful, blessed, or satisfied (whatever you want to call it) is given by Him. Often, we try our best to suppress our innate longings for happiness, believing that this is the way to life.
On the contrary, the Bible teaches us that our desires should not be denied but should be pursued in and redirected to our infinitely happy God, for we are His masterpiece fashioned for joy in our fellowship with Him (Psalm 144:15).
Hence, happiness comes to us by seeking, knowing, and loving God Himself. Delighting in God above all means that we must shift our gears and turn away from the fleeting pleasures of fame, wealth, health, sex, talents, and friendship (however enticing or well-meaning these may be), and turn to God as our ultimate treasure and only hope for lasting joy.
If God is always happy, is He incapable of feeling our pain?
Yes, God is perpetually happy. But He also does feel our suffering deeply (Isaiah 63:9). How this perfectly fits together is quite unthinkable for us for we only see in part (1 Corinthians 13:9–12). But we can be assured that God has a foolproof plan, an infinitely massive blueprint that He will surely accomplish for the eternal good of us who love Him and who are called to His divine purpose (Romans 8:28).
For now, we enjoy a foretaste of heaven on earth. But our hope is that whatever light, momentary affliction we may experience in the path of faith and obedience is producing for us an eternal weight of glory that we shall eventually see (2 Corinthians 4:17,18).
Life here on earth may be painful and difficult, but it is never joyless.
The world thinks happiness comes from going on expensive trips and having extravagant luxuries, an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed, a promising career, a good reputation, gratifying relationships, stunning achievements, and the like. People chase these things for happiness, but to no avail.
I was like this, too—trapped in a seemingly endless loop of superficial, rotten pleasures brought about by false securities and comforts of our world. All was vanity, a chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
In the end, the only reality that truly satisfies is God.
Friends, let’s not be far too easily pleased by fragments of happiness and temporary moments of pleasure. The great news is that abiding happiness and pleasures from now to eternity are offered to us in Christ Jesus our Lord (John 15:11).
Join me in an eternal pursuit of ever-increasing joy in Him alone.