Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
Short answer — that’s up to us. God never promised happiness for those of us who opt into the Christian lifestyle. By default, we have lots of enemies. We’re still on the same planet satan runs, so we have to deal with his garbage too.
We find happiness through anticipation. We have to find excitement for the new life we’ll have, and hang onto that with everything in us.
We find happiness through selflessness. Doing good things for other people is a tried-and-true way to be happy. Once we’re more focused on others than we are on ourselves, we’ll understand genuine happiness.
We sometimes conflate happiness with euphoria. As Newton famously said, “What goes up must come down.” Euphoria is temporary and often accompanied by a rebound slump. But it’s a feeling of profound well-being that tends to be addictive, and is often above a natural baseline sense of well-being. Most people who want to be happy are really just chasing euphoria. We’re seeing now that it’s making everyone miserable.
Happiness is not guaranteed, but we can experience it with the right mindset. Help people. Pray for your enemies. Love people who hate you. Designate at least a couple of minutes every day to think about the next life. Look at the stars, planets, galaxies, and nebulae at night. You can’t help but be blown away by how intense and beautiful the universe is. This is God’s home (cf. Ps 115.16; Job 38.7; Deut 10.14; Neh 9.6; Ps 68.33; Mt 18.10), and the most tangible display of his power that we can experience with our senses (Rom 1.20). It puts our existence into perspective and reassures us that God actually is in control.
This life isn’t about being happy — the next one will be nothing but happiness, because entropy and dysfunction will no longer exist (Rom 8.20-25).