Every one of us longs for happiness. Not just the superficial happiness that is momentarily experienced in certain surroundings and then vanishes quickly like a puff of smoke, but a deep abiding happiness with our lives.
Years ago a young teen wrote these words to columnist Ann Landers, "Happiness is having parents that love you. Happiness is being as well dressed as anyone in your crowd. Happiness is having your own room. Happiness is getting that telephone call you've been waiting for. Happiness is being popular. Happiness is having parents who don't fight. Happiness is something I don't have. Signed, Fifteen and unhappy."
Truth be told, most of us might not agree on what it means to be truly happy. Years ago a multi-millionaire was asked what it would take to make him happy. His answer, "Just one more million." A year later he had that million. The reporter went back to him and asked, "So, are you happy now?" To which the famed industrialist replied, "No. I think I need another million, then I might be happy."
If you stake your happiness on anything that can be taken away, you are taking a great risk. While there is nothing wrong with the temporal happiness that things or circumstances can sometimes bring us, really what we need is a brand of happiness on the inside that can't be taken away, even in those times of difficulty and stress.
The Bible says, "Happy is the man whose God is the Lord." (Psalm 144:15). Deep lasting happiness is not just a momentary pleasure. This type of happiness is only found when a person is in right relationship with God. We were made by God and for God, and without Him there is a void which nothing else can fill.
It comes as a surprise to many to learn that God is truly interested in our happiness. Solomon wrote, "Young man, it's wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it! Do all you want to; take in everything but realize that you must account to God for everything you do. So banish grief and pain, but remember that youth with a whole life before it, can make serious mistakes. Don't let the excitement of being young cause you to forget about your Creator. Honor him in your youth before the evil years come -- when you'll no longer enjoy living." (Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1).
Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV)
God knows us completely. Because He knows us completely, He knows what it takes to make us truly happy. Psychologists tell us that the three basic ingredients to true happiness are a meaningful love, a purpose in life, and a future hope. All three of these things are found in a relationship with God.
If you are looking for happiness, why not give God a chance? Why not discover for yourself the deep lasting happiness that comes from a relationship with Him?
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org