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Christian Union: The Magazine
June 30, 2016
iStock_000084650411_MediumEveryone in the world is looking for happiness. As Christians, we have the benefit of knowing that durable happiness lies in our faith in God. Despite this knowledge, many Christians often feel perplexed that they still experience emotions like sorrow. Randy Alcorn from Desiring God explains why Christians can enjoy profound happiness even if they are not perpetually experiencing the emotion that we think of as “happy”:

Until Christ cures this world, our happiness in Christ will be punctuated by sorrow. Yet somehow an abiding joy is possible even in suffering. Christians are “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10)

Our happiness does not depend so much on feelings of joy and elation as it does on the knowledge that through our faith in God, we will be saved when we die.

Experiencing daily happiness in Christ isn’t wishful thinking. It’s based on solid facts: God secured our eternal happiness through the cross and resurrection. He dwells within us, and he intercedes for us. Nothing separates us from his love. And he tells us “Be happy and full of joy, because the Lord has done a wonderful thing” (Joel 2:21 NCV).

“Positive thinking” says we can be happy by ignoring the negative (such as sin, suffering, and hell). I don’t believe that. Nor do I embrace the God-as-genie, name-it-and-claim-it prosperity gospel, which promises happiness through health, wealth, and success.

We should be grateful when God grants us health, provisions, and delightful surprises. But it’s one thing to be happy when such things occur, and another to believe God has failed us when they don’t.

We should not be unhappy because of our circumstances; in the end, they will not matter to our eternal happiness. Faith in an unfailing God will bring us true happiness in the long term.

The day hasn’t yet come when God will “wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4). But it will. Christ’s blood-bought promise has breathtaking implications for our present happiness. Jesus made this startling statement: “Happy are those who mourn; [for] God will comfort them!” (Matthew 5:4, GNT). Present happiness is derived from the promise of future comfort. The eternal perspective of God’s children informs them of a true and ultimate happiness they can anticipate now (see Psalm 16:11; 21:6; 36:7-10; 37:16; 43:4; 73:28; john 10:10).