If You’re Happy And You Know It
Why does God want you to be happy?
God wants you to be happy. It’s a simple idea, but a complicated reality.
About a year after the horrible genocide in Rwanda, I traveled to that hellhole to document the construction of a new orphanage for the television program LIFE Today. I found children who had been maimed, traumatized, and separated from their families. But I also found something unexpected: children who seemed to be genuinely happy. No doubt they had shed many tears and had a few more coming, but most of them were not gloomy, angry, or detached. They played, sang, and enjoyed the company of their fellow orphans.
I also met Fred Nkunda, a Ugandan man who exuded joy despite the conditions of poverty, political strife, overwhelming need, and long hours of working for a pittance to care for his children. A few years later, he succumbed to cancer, but while he lived he wore a warm smile as he selflessly gave himself to others. The same was true for a young Canadian couple and the African Christians who devoted their lives to the mission work.
When I came home, I noticed a shocking contrast. Most Americans lacked the joy that those Rwandan children and mission workers undeniably possessed. Despite the affluence, modern conveniences, political stability, and endless other material blessings, people here scowled, exhibited impatience, and simmered with discontent. How could this be?
Somewhere along the way, many of us in America have lost something. We have failed to experience happiness—real happiness that comes from within and flows to others. And it’s not just missing in “the world.” It’s in short supply in our homes, businesses, and churches.
Too often, happiness is viewed as a circumstantial condition. It is actually a personal character trait. We understand the necessity of love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are accepted and desirable consequences of Holy Spirit residency. But happiness? It is easily overlooked or dismissed as unattainable in this life.
From a biblical perspective, happiness holds the same status as these other virtues. It is not the goal of a relationship with Christ, but it is a promised by-product. Of course, we need to establish the meaning of happiness to believe such a claim, but when we examine the scriptural notions of happiness, joy, delight, and other related concepts, a part of God’s plan for His children becomes clear: He wants us to be happy.
If you consider yourself a happy person, as I consider myself to be, then you will find this book to be enlightening and encouraging. You will understand yourself better and learn how to get really good at being happy. And I will warn you now: Happiness is infectious. The better you are at it, the happier people around you will be, which will make you even happier.
If you doubt your happiness or readily admit that you are unhappy, the ideas and scriptures laid out in this book will open the door for you to escape your darkness and enter the light. The journey may be difficult, painful, and exhausting, but it will be worth it—not just for you, but for everyone in your life. You have no idea how much your life can change and how much you can change the lives of your loved ones when you become a truly happy person.
James tells us that if we are suffering hardships, we should pray, and if we are happy, we should sing praises ( James 5:13). If you are suffering, pray as you read through this book. God wants to bring you to a place where you are so happy, you can’t stop yourself from singing. It may sound ridiculous now, but that’s the incredible difference God wants to make in your life!
Taken from: God Wants You to Be Happy. Copyright © 2011 by James Randall Robison. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.