The Truth About Happiness
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! - (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
Today’s Scripture from the book of Habakkuk is a magnificent description of a heart that holds on to joy by faith. The prophet looked around him and knew he was in a season of deep trouble and need. But in spite of all the negative circumstances, he said, “I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in my God.”
Solomon said, “For the happy heart, life is a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15, NLT). The psalmist wrote that in the presence of God there is fullness of joy and at His right hand pleasures forevermore (see Psalm 16:11). Jesus said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT). God wants us to experience joy as believers — not a fickle happiness that depends on circumstances or changes with the wind direction, but a joy that remains in spite of what may be taking place around you.
Anyone can be relatively happy when things are going well. But when you face adversity or sickness or hardship and then rejoice, you show that something supernatural has occurred in your life. In fact, you show yourself to be a real Christian. This is a unique trait of believers — that we can rejoice when things go wrong.
How do we do it? We find the key in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Paul didn’t say to rejoice in circumstances. Rather, he said to rejoice in the Lord. In other words, God is still on the throne. You’re still going to heaven. You’re still forgiven. God still has a plan for your life; He has not abandoned you. We need to take joy in the Lord always. That is the key. I recognize that in spite of what I may be going through right now, His plans for me are still good. And He will never leave or forsake me.
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When God doesn’t make sense, when it seems that He is asleep, when it feels like He doesn’t care, we must remind ourselves of His promises. Going back to God’s promises, we find something that we desperately need in those hard times: perspective.
That eternal perspective is the focus of Dr. James Dobson’s book When God Doesn’t Make Sense, which we’re offering as a thank-you to anyone who gives a gift of support to Harvest Ministries this month.