It’s hard to be happy.
It’s hard when your world is turned upside-down. It’s hard to be happy when we’re busy. It’s hard when we feel in danger.
Being happy is hard. But we still want to be happy! So, when do we expect happiness?
You might think that the time to be happy is right now! This is our best chance to be happy, because the future is uncertain. You think, ‘Who knows what comes next anyway?’
Maybe you don’t think much about living in the new heavens and new earth. Or maybe that just doesn’t sound like much to be happy about.
Or maybe you think that happiness is something to look forward to. That’s how it’ll be in heaven. But we’re not so sure that it’s possible, or at least not that important, here and now.
True, there are many struggles, griefs, and trials in this life. Jesus Himself experienced felt hunger, homelessness, and just being so tired you have to stop and rest. God is honest with us about that.
But He also tells us about the path of life: not just a way to get to real joyful life, but a way through this life that is true and joyful living! In Philippians 3:8-9 Paul writes, ‘What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.’
So, when we are ‘in Christ’, when God has connected us to Jesus, He gives us something now, something of unmeasurable value, something that makes everything else seem worthless. What is it? What can give us such happiness now? ‘Knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… gain[ing] Christ and be[ing] found in him… through faith.’ That is how believers have always found life and happiness: By knowing Christ Jesus as their Lord. And that’s how we can experience real life and true happiness now, and in the life to come.
God shows us how in Psalm 16. There David writes, ‘You make known to me the path of life’ (v11). And we’ll see how this way of true and joyful living comes through Jesus.