Columbus, Ohio, June 21, 2013 — A tired, frustrated voice comes across the radio: “If I could only get a good night’s sleep, I’d be the happiest person on earth.”
It’s a commercial advertising a new, innovative treatment for sleep apnea, yet no statement could cut closer to the basic desire of the human experience: If only — then I’d be happy.
Human beings, unlike any other creature on the planet, possess a deep and inescapable longing for fulfillment. For satisfaction. And, yes, for happiness.
Who on earth has ever tamed his untamable inclination for satisfaction? Who on Earth has her thirst for fulfillment, peace and rest sublimely quenched? Who on Earth is happy?
A Harris Poll released May 30 indicated only 33% of Americans even considered themselves happy. The survey was based on a series of questions posed to 2,345 respondents from varying age groups and ethnicities.
Harris Interactive led off with the question, “Has the pursuit of happiness left Americans unhappy?” Maybe it has. Then again, maybe more Americans suffer from sleep apnea than we’ve suspected.
But there was once a person who was truly happy. This man, as many wise men before and after his day, have supposed, did not find happiness in the abundance of wealth. In fact, it was his never-ending supply of happiness that emboldened him to give up all he had to make others rich.
This man found his happiness not in power, status or privilege. It was instead the fullness of his happiness that spurred him to leave a lofty, indomitable, kingly position and serve others, even though it would eventually take his life.
Financial security? This man had no home, little-to-no income for years at a time, and when it came time to pay his taxes, he bummed a coin from a cash-carrying fish to square up his accounts with the state.
What was this man’s secret to happiness? What made him so secure that he could not only risk losing everything for the good of others, but also willingly give up everything, including life itself, for the good of others?
Simple. This man truly and fully lived by God’s agenda. Or in his own words, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38, English Standard Version)
Rather than seeking his happiness in things that either fail to satisfy in the moment or chasing mirages that lose their luster when they’re finally apprehended, Jesus lived out Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do your will, O my God….”
Jesus Christ was (and is) a truly happy person. His was (and is) a joy that cannot be taken away. Even death itself couldn’t conquer this happy man. Death lost its iron grip on the happiest man ever to walk the earth when Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
Is your happiness stronger than the grave? Get your sleep apnea under control, and then look in awe-filled faith to the risen Son of God.
You’ll be happy you did.
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