Can We Really Be Happy?
I think the concept of happiness is such a weighty thought. I mean, even trying to define happiness has eluded philosophers throughout the ages.
There is deep hunger in all humans to be happy, as Dostoevsky in the Brothers Karamazov so succinctly tells us, "And yet---happiness, happiness---where is it? Who can say of himself that he is happy?"
Our culture offers us happiness; happiness through material things, happiness through through self-gratification, but we all conclude in the end, we are still not satisfied.
There is not any thing in this world, perhaps, that is more talked of, and less understood, than the business of a happy life. It is every person's wish and design; and yet not one of a thousand...knows wherein that happiness consists. We live, however, in a blind and eager pursuit of it; and the more haste we make in a wrong way, the further we are from our journey's end.
However, the Holy Scriptures affirm for us the reality of how God's people can be happy now and in the future (eternity):
In your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand there are pleasures forever (Psalms 16: 11).
Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4).
I defer to Augustine in the confessions as to the real meaning of happiness: "I serve You and worship You that I may be happy in You, to whom I owe that I am being capable of happiness."
Let me share some Biblical insight on the subject of happiness, but in order to do that we must go back to God's original design for man. From Genesis 1: 26-28 we learn three very important truths:
1. God created man to be in a loving relationship with Himself (spiritual).
2. God gave man the institution of marriage and family life (social).
3. God gave man the mandate to rule and subdue the earth and its creatures (cultural).