August 29, 2022

Does God Want You to Be Happy?

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Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day. Genesis 1:31

Mark listened carefully to his pastor’s words: “God is not interested in your happiness.”  “Wow, he thought,” that makes sense because I am definitely not happy!”

Was Mark’s pastor right? Does God’s vision for our happiness only extend to our spiritual lives? “‘Too often, we preach as if the story of our faith begins in Genesis 3, with our sinfulness.  But it doesn’t,'”[1] contends pastor and theologian Jonathan Pennington. Pennington makes an interesting point.  Going back to the very first chapter of the Bible, God’s first observation of all that He had made was to say that it was “very good!” (Genesis 1:31).  God’s character is one of light and beauty (1 John 1:5) and all of His creation reflects His character.

We don’t have to set aside Psalm 53 when it says, “No one does good, not a single one!” or sidestep our need for forgiveness and restitution with God to enjoy beauty or earthly happiness. “Yes, the world is broken and marred,'” Pennington agrees, “‘There’s mud on the Rembrandt—but it is still good…the Bible has a lot to say about beauty, happiness and human flourishing, if only we have eyes to see.'”[2]

The Bible book of Ecclesiastes chronicles the emptiness of earthly happiness absent right relationship with God, but do we miss the good gifts that God gives?  Do we miss the sunsets?  The ice cream?  The wonder of a baby? A friend’s hug or a stranger’s smile?

Today, may we have eyes to see the reflection of God’s beauty around us in creation and in each other.  May we remind each other of Psalm 144 that says, “Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 144:15 KVJ).

[1] Lea, Bronwyn. “God Wants You to Be Happy.” Bible Study, July 2022, pp. 22–23.

[2] Ibid, 23.