There are many types of joy and happiness that human beings experience. There is happiness when something good happens. An engagement, a wedding, a birth, a life milestone. There is joy when a tragedy has been averted. We are happy when we succeed in doing something significant. Our own achievements and our children’s and loved one’s achievements give us happiness as well.
So what is happiness? Where does it come from? What can we do to experience happiness more frequently?
In the Psalms King David tells us: Worship the LORD with happiness! Enter his presence with joyful singing! If we want to serve God and be close to Him, we need to be filled with joy and happiness. And that is not a simple undertaking.
In Deuteronomy the bible lists a long rendition of terrible things that will befall the People of Israel. At the end of the description it tells us why these things will occur:” Because you have not served the LORD your God joyfully and wholeheartedly with the abundance of everything you have.” (Deuteronomy 28:47) The bible’s message seems almost bizarre. The “terrible” crime committed that led to such extreme consequences is not serving God happily? Really?
In actuality, the bible is teaching us the great secret of happiness. The verse ends with the words, “with the abundance of everything that you have”. We certainly have quite a bit. But how many people are aware of it? How many people take the time to be grateful and say thank you for the great blessings and abundance that God has showered down upon them? When is the last time you stopped and said, “I am blessed. I have so much. Thank you God.”?
That is the true secret of happiness. To truly appreciate what we have been given by God. Our physical bodies, our talents, our family, our friends and our possessions. Jeremiah the prophet tells us that “Once again there will be sounds of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. Once again people will bring their thank offerings to the temple of the LORD and will say, “Give thanks to the LORD who rules over all. For the LORD is good and his unfailing love lasts forever.” For I, the LORD, affirm that I will restore the land to what it was in days of old.’ The idea of joy and gladness comes together with “thank offerings”. We are so busy seeing what is wrong that it is a challenge to see the blessings which surround us. When we do so, we will be on our way to true happiness.