What does the Bible say about happiness? We probably should start there, since this is a Christian endeavor. We find in the Bible Greek and Hebrew words for happiness. And words associated with them tell us a lot about what the Bible position on happiness is. Some of those words are blessed, satisfied, protected, prosperity, established, solid, healthy, rejoicing, right living. Blessed and happy is the man who does never walk astray. Let’s look at the scripture that that song comes from. It’s in Psalms 1, the first three verses.
Psalms 1:1-3 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, not sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
He’s unmovable. To extrapolate a bit, the Bible position is that happiness also is a byproduct of right living and a good relationship with God, rather than a goal to seek of itself. If we obey God, if we serve God, that aligns us with the nature of the universe and life. We are then in accord with it and things will just go better for us naturally. And there are also plenty of examples for us in the Bible where God intervened directly and blessed people.
It’s also biblical that it’s not good for us to be happy all the time. When I look back at my life, when I’ve been the most happy, I was also learning the least. I was just enjoying the feeling of the benefits of obeying God and things were going well. But when I’ve been unhappy, because of some foolish mistake or trial, I’ve learned the most. I grew the most during those times. So, like Solomon said, “There is a time for everything.” There’s a time to be happy and there’s a time to be anxious and frustrated and unhappy. I like being happy, but God is more concerned with perfecting me than He is with my happiness. And He has a long way to go with that, so I expect I’m not going to be happy for long periods of time.
Think about Job. He was a rich man and God even said he was a righteous man – a good man – but he needed to learn some things. So, in the story, God drew the devil’s attention to Job. And He allowed the devil to take everything, except his life, away from him – his wealth, his family, his health. Once Job learned what he needed to learn, God gave him back twice as much as he had before. We might say, “Yes, but his children all died.” Yes, and Job was the man who said, “I know that my Redeemer lives and in the latter day, He will stand on the earth. And after I die, yet in my flesh, I shall see God.” So he had this hope also for his deceased children. He saw the big picture that God provides us. He knew that he was offered a free ticket through life and that he would have to suffer if he was ever going to live eternally with God. So he saw that big picture. His first daughter – born after his trial – he and his wife named Jemima. Do you know what that word means – that name? There are two definitions that crop up. One is turtledove or affectionate. She apparently was close to him. And, if that was true, then her life certainly was restorative to him. And the second meaning for that name can be the day. What day do you suppose that might mean? Could it possibly mean that through his loving child, Job was looking to the day when he would have all his children with him? I like to think that. It makes me happy.