When beginning to think about writing this article, the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came into my mind. I haven’t heard that song in years. I googled it and there it was. We all have troubles and worries in our lives. Sometimes they can be overwhelming but most of the time they just make us unhappy. The song is a catchy tune and makes one feel better when you sing it. But it doesn’t tell us why not to worry and why to be happy.
Jesus in the very familiar Gospel passage (Luke 12:22-32) tells us to look at the birds in the sky and the flowers of the field all loved and cared for by God, and so they don’t worry about food or what they are to wear. Because God cares for us deeply, Jesus tells us God will provide the things we need including happiness. The reason we don’t need to worry is because God loves us. Yet many people, including Christians, are vaguely unhappy. But really they don’t need to be.
Norman Vincent Peale wrote: “One can awaken every morning with a thrill, looking forward with anticipation to the day. You can imagine having the time of your life all day long and actually regret having to go to bed for fear of missing something exciting.”
He came up with three verses will help us cast off unhappiness and show us how to live joyously. He suggested that we say the first one out loud every day:
1. “This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Those words are a stimulating mental and spiritual tonic with which to begin the day. Upon awakening, say these dynamic words out loud. You have a new day crammed with opportunity to build a better and happier life. As you go to work, repeat the verse and, if you begin to run down in spirit during the day, say it again. This is one of the greatest of all strength producing thoughts. Possibly no method is more effective for driving off unhappiness than to saturate the mind with these powerful words.
2. “Rejoice in the Lord always again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). You can make yourself unhappy by habitually thinking unhappy thoughts. Instead, start thinking joyfully. It is that simple. Practice rejoicing, not vaguely, but specifically rejoicing in the Lord. Think of every wonderful thing the Lord has done for you, the most important being that He is always with you. When you consider the implications of that fact, there is every reason to rejoice and be happy, for it means that nothing can ever defeat you.
3. “These things I have spoken to you … that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). Real, in-depth Christians are always happy people. Of course, that does not mean that they are free from pain and suffering, but they have the power to conquer it. They are filled with joyous exultation, for they have the priceless experience of victory over misery. To be happy, try to follow the “things” Jesus teaches. You will experience joy in its fullest form.
These are taken from Guidepost Blog (www.guideposts.org) of April 2, 2013.
The writer is the pastor at St. Michael Parish, Fort Loramie and Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Newport.