SECRET OF HAPPINESS
Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
Phil.4:11-13 The Message
The most amazing thing about Paul’s statement about happiness is where he wrote these words. Paul was a prisoner in Rome and claimed to have found the secret of happiness, the kind of happiness that even works in prison. He seemed to be saying that his happiness did not come from his circumstances or his accomplishments. That sounds strange in our twenty first century world, we seem to place so much emphasis, even in our so called spiritual lives, in our accomplishments or circumstances which have been portrayed as the mark of God’s favor thereby the source of our happiness. That is not even close to what Paul was saying. He said that he had discovered a happiness in Christ or as Jonathan Edwards would say, happiness in the other world. Listen to what Edwards says about the happiness he had discovered in Christ.
“When so great a God dwells among a people, He not only is able to supply them with all good, but He Himself is the sum of all good. God is theirs, and therefore they are happy, if they have nothing else. If all other things fail, the enjoyment of God is sufficient to make them completely happy.”
That is exactly what Paul was talking about. He had discovered the recipe of happiness in life, God Himself was his portion, with that position, there are never any disappointments. I will never forget the question the Lord asked me after His visitation began in our church in NOLA in 1994. He clearly asked me “Am I enough for you. If you are never deemed successful or never have a large ministry can you be happy with only Me?” What a question. Before 1994, I could never have even considered such a thing, but after God had come down amongst us I think I began to understand what Paul found in prison and Edwards found in the Great Awakening. What was their common experience, God Himself had come down in their midst. His presence overwhelms our need for satisfaction in this world. He becomes our portion, and yes, I am content with “only” Him.