Does God Want Us To Be Happy? (Is God Happy?)
Does God want us to be happy? Every time I think of that question, I think of the speech Anthony Hopkins gives playing C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands. It’s a great speech. (It’s a great movie.) And in it, his answer is ‘what if the answer to that question is no?’ In this speech, Lewis is addressing the question of suffering, the problem of pain. And he’s right.
After all, to answer the question with a simple yes or no is to ignore the complexities and realities of life.
That being said, does God want us to be happy?
In the beginning, there’s only one thing that God said wasn’t good. And he fixed that. The whole idea is that we live eternally, with no sorrow, no pain, no sadness. You know the deal. So yes. God wants us to be happy.
Does that mean He wants us to indulge our desire for instant gratification and we will have everything we want and be spared the desert seasons of our lives? No. Of course not.
That’s a part of the deal. We live in a broken world.
But beyond the brokenness of the world, think of it this way.
You want your children to be happy, right? I want my friends’ kids and cousins’ kids all to be happy. That doesn’t mean they get to do whatever they want whenever they want. Because doing whatever they want whenever they want isn’t what is best for them, or even what will bring them happiness in the long run.
I don’t know about your kids but I’m pretty sure one of my closest friends’ kid would eat nothing but candy, cookies, and as much sugar as a kid could possibly consume….all the time….if given the option. That wouldn’t be good for him in the long run, right?
My own life is a shining example of how what feels good now or may even work for a while, in the long run, can be the very thing that destroys you and lands you in some of the darkest places I hope you never know.
And during that part of my life, I often refused to return to my faith and had no desire to seek spiritual things because I believed that I didn’t deserve it. I believed I wasn’t good enough.
After all, I didn’t live up to the standards men had placed on what I should look like or act like or be like. I had confused what religion – or people – wanted and expected over with who God is and what He wanted to do in my life.
And based on that, I saw God as an angry, judgmental God just waiting to punish me for my bad behavior long enough before….maybe….I could be loved or of any use to anyone. Yeah. How scary is it to thinkthat way? But that’s where I was at the time.
Is God Happy?
It was a novel idea to me to consider that God is happy.
But really, it makes perfect sense.
He created a world chocked-full of amazing things. Fish. Forests. Deserts. Mountains. Oceans. (That Discovery series ‘Life’ just filled me with awe at both the creativity — and the brilliance — of God.)
As someone who is creative myself, I know that feeling. The feeling of making something, creating something, standing back and thinking, “Yeah. It’s good.”
God has that view on a much grander scale.
He’s also got the perfect relationship. He’s never alone. He’s filled with love, peace, joy.
And He knows how the story is going to end. His plan is going….according to plan.
So of course He’s happy. Though it’s hard sometimes for us to think of Him that way.
The Truth About Happiness
Yes. God wants us to be happy. We’re told we can be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
As in….right now.
But as many things in life, especially in the spiritual life, are a paradox….so it is at times with happiness.
You see, I’ve had some very long, very dry, very dark desert seasons in my life.
We don’t like to talk about those. We like to keep everything all happy and joyful. We can even feel ashamed of what we go through in those desert times of life — the doubt, the fear, the worry, the stress, grappling with the bigger questions.
But coming out of those times, coming out the other side, that’s where inexpressible joy got deep.
That’s where it got real. Those are the times where I got to know more of who God is, who I am, how it all works, and experienced even more grace at work in my life than I would have ever dared asked or imagined. (I wouldn’t have even known to ask to begin with, much less imagine.)
It’s a Part of The Joy
God is a big picture God. We tend to focus just on the one thing right in front of us. When we’re not happy, all we can see is that we’re not happy. Right now. In the big picture, though, the pain is a part of the joy.
I lost both my grandparents in the last seven months. Of course there were tears. Of course there was sadness. Of course there was pain. It was mixed, though, with love. The sadness existed because of the memories, the happiness, the love that was there.
The pain is a part of the joy. The trials are a part of the triumph.
It gives it weight and depth and breadth. It makes it solid. Firm.
And yes. A part of the deal is we can feel joy, peace, love….even in the middle of the desert. In the middle of our toughest challenges. In the midst of the problems and the heartaches and the pain.
Is God happy? I think so. Does God want us to be happy? Yes.
But the deal is…..it’s all a part of the happiness.
Rooted & Grounded in Love,
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