Mike Novotny - Where Is the Happiness That Lasts?
I have a confession to make. I get a little bit infatuated with celebrities. I don't mean like creeping outside of Justin Bieber's window kind of infatuated. I haven't done that in months. My wife says that I get a little bit starstruck and I'm really interested in the headlines of USA Today. And here's why. I'm always curious to see if celebrities are happy. Yeah, that's a big topic we've been trying to tackle together this week, how to find happiness.
And if there's anyone in our culture that should be happy, you would think, it would be them. Many of us assume if we could put on a little bit more muscle and lose a few more pounds, we'd be super happy. Or if we didn't have credit card debt and we can move into a nicer home with a better backyard and a greater kitchen, we'd be happy. We'd assume that we wouldn't have these financial pressures, if we could go on great vacations, if we fell in love with a beautiful person, we'd be happy.
And so here are these celebrities and they have the looks and they have the likes and they have the pleasures and they have the trips. So the question I'm curious about is, are they happy? And I haven't done any personal interviews. They won't return my phone calls but here's what I seem to get from the headlines. Not really. There's just as much anxiety and depression and fear and frustration among the rich and famous as there is among you and me. In fact, it's crazy to me, how many celebrities battle addiction, they turn to pills or to drugs or to alcohol for some temporary high when you think all the stuff they have would give them the high that they're looking for. It seems that the pursuit of happiness isn't an easy path defined. And that's actually what an ancient celebrity said too.
In the Old Testament King Solomon was like a celebrity. He was rich, famous. He was wise. He had the women, the wealth, the wine, everything. But in this book of the Bible we call Ecclesiastes, he said this, If Solomon tried to be happy in a thousand different ways and it didn't work. Yeah. Made him happy for a little bit. But when he looked back and reflected, he found that it was meaningless. True happiness, lasting happiness wasn't found in all the stuff that celebrities get.
Now you might never be rich and famous or have a billion Instagram followers but that's really important for you to know too. Because there's this temptation that you and I face to think if we just got fill in the blank we'd definitely be happy, but life doesn't work that way. You pray for the right grades to get into college and you get it and the acceptance letter makes you so happy.
And then there's the pressure of exams and the competition of sports and the crazy dating life on college campus. And you're not so happy. You think if you had more money and made more money, you'd be so happy but then you get the job and there's the pressures and the demands and the mandatory overtime from your boss. And you're not so happy. You think that if you could just meet the one and fall in love and have the wedding and the Instagram pictures and get pregnant and have a family, you'd be so happy but then you have a kid and he doesn't want to sleep. And you need counseling for a struggling relationship. And you're not as happy as you would assume.
You see just like celebrities find and just like King Solomon found, happiness is not easy to hold onto, which is why there's only one real place where happiness lasts, with God. There's this incredible passage in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 33, it says, I love that idea. You could be happy. You could run into the safe happy place, your refuge, because God is not just God. He's the eternal God, he's the God that doesn't come and go. The God that doesn't make you happy one day and sad the next, He's just consistently loving and accepting and gracious and merciful. And because God's love is eternal and it never ends, it has the ability to make us so, so happy. I actually thought of that last night.
My second born daughter Maya and I have this really sweet tradition that I love. We have this little journal where we write back and forth to each other. And the stuff in that little blue book is pretty private. And I couldn't tell you what's all in there, but I can't tell you this, that we talk about the stuff that makes us happy and the stuff that makes us sad. What makes us afraid and nervous, I write to her and she writes back to me. But at the bottom of those little pages, there's always a Bible passage that the makers of the journal put. And guess what passage I saw last night, Deuteronomy 33, the eternal God is your refuge. And I circled that word eternal. And I put a big arrow down to it because I know whatever my daughter's going through, whatever I'm going through, whatever makes me worried or nervous or afraid, that's the answer.
The eternal God is our refuge. Only God's presence can make us happy. And it's true for you too, because Jesus gave his life for the sins of the world. The doors open, you can run to that refuge. You can rejoice and be glad and be happy before God, because he's one place that you can always go to. He'll never leave you and never forsake you. He is the eternal God and He is your refuge. So I don't know if you'll ever be as famous as Justin Bieber. I don't know if you'll ever have as much wisdom as King Solomon, but I do know this, there's a place where all of us can be as happy as possible in the presence of God. Let's pray:
Oh Jesus, thank you so much for opening the door so that God could be our refuge, then nothing in our past or present or future, none of our sin or the embarrassing choices that we've made will lock the door so that we couldn't get there. Thank you that we can be happy, even if life is a mess right now because we have God and the eternal God has all we need. May that make us content. We're asking God that that would make us happy today. And we pray it in Jesus' name. Amen.
So what verse makes you the happiest? Today, I shared Deuteronomy 33 about the eternal God being our refuge but what passage pops into your mind when you want to remember how good, how wonderful, how happiness inducing God is. I'd love for you to let our community know in the comments section so that we can pursue God, the only one who can make us eternally happy. Have a great day and we'll catch you next time.