Happiness looks different for different people. John looks happy because he has a 5 bedroom house, a Mercedes, 3 children, a dog and a bass boat. Lewis couldn’t be happy; he struggles to make his rent payment, he is recently divorced and only sees his kids on odd weekends, his car stays in the shop more than on the road, and his dog ran away last week.
Although these two situations are very opposite, who is to say that John should be happier than Lewis? The culture we live in says so. Because John has more materialistic things in this life, he has to have “Joy.”
Our youngest son recently opened a present that my wife had bought for a couple that is having a baby. The present wasn’t his, but he knew from birthdays and Christmas how much fun it was to find out what was inside the box. He asked his mom if he could hold the present. She declined his request. So when she wasn’t looking, he took off to our bedroom. He opened the present and even though it wasn’t a new toy that he could play with, he enjoyed the thrill of opening the present.
My youngest child, the only daughter, is a glutton for punishment. She runs around our house trying to avoid being pushed and tackled by her brothers. While she is hustling throughout the kitchen and into the living room, she is laughing so hard she can barely breathe. She knows what may happen when they catch her. She may end up tackled to the floor in what sometimes seems like a football practice drill in between the couch and love seat. She has “Joy” in the chase and the relationship with her siblings.
Our oldest child loves to have friends over to spend the night. They stay up playing Playstation, jumping on the trampoline, or whatever kind of sports they see fit in our yard. The “Joy” of having someone besides his three and two year old siblings to play with excites him.
My wife loves the beach. Everything about the beach; the sand between her toes, the scorching hot sun, the shopping, the salt water crashing in from the ocean, the excitement of our family playing on the beach or poolside, and the luxury of eating at many fine restaurants. Her “Joy” is from the experience of being at her “happy place” with her family.
When my children are tired and they are ready for bed. They sometimes can be ornery, but in brief moments they are so tired that they lay their little bodies next to or on top of mine. At this point I watch them sleeping and realize that a lot of miracles take place each day and this is one of the many that I actually can look upon and have been a part of. My “Joy” is being a father.
The things that make me happy don’t always correlate with those of my family. For one, I can’t stand sand on my feet or anywhere else to be completely honest, but my wife could stay on the beach all day. Some people enjoy spending hours sitting in a tree stand waiting for a gigantic buck to walk out so they will have the opportunity to put a trophy on the wall. Personally, I am too impatient to sit in a tree stand for ten minutes.
Often times our happiness is short lived or temporary. Hitting a home run can give you brief enjoyment until the next at bat results in a strikeout. Family should be a source of “Joy,” but there are even times when they disappoint you. A close friend or spouse will bring you years of happiness, but even they may betray your trust. Buying a new car will be exciting, but eventually the newness will wear off.
Luke 10:20 states, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Matthew 3:16 states, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment, the heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove. These two verses provide insight into things that you can hang your hat on. People and objects of this life will fail you, but “Joy” for believers should be based on the fact that your name is written down for eternal life with Christ and one day the heavens will open up and we will be in the presence of God. For non-believers, it’s never too late.