Response: December 2015 Issue

Finding Happiness in God

Through God can be found deep happiness as we work to ensure all are happy.

Finding Happiness in God
United Methodist Women Director Irma Clark, right, chats with Program Advisory Group member Glenna Brayton in March 2015.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth."
-2 Timothy 2:15

There are various ways of being happy, and everyone has the capacity to make his or her life what it needs to be to have a reasonable amount of peace in it.

Why do we persecute ourselves with illusory demands, never content until we feel we have conformed to some standard of happiness that is not good for us only but for everyone? Why can we not be content with the secret gift of the happiness that God offers us? Perhaps because we do not believe in a happiness that's given to us for nothing.

God gives us freedom to make our own lives within our situations, which is the gift of God's love to us and by means of the power God's love grants us. In Matthew 5:12, the Beatitudes, Jesus said that in this life there are persecution, slander, libel and deception. But he also said, "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven." He strongly hinted that relative happiness in this life is related to an absolute happiness in heaven.

Real happiness in life

I found happiness in God as a child. I grew up going to church — church was a great part of my childhood and a family tradition to attend every Sunday. I was always excited when Sunday came. I looked forward to Sunday school, reading Bible stories, memorizing Bible verses and saying the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed.

I found happiness in God in Sunday school. I immersed myself in books and the Bible and took mental trips around the world and developed a love for the scriptures. In my young adult life I was told, "You can't teach what you don't know." Jesus' disciples studied and learned as well as taught. From Jesus they learned about the kingdom of heaven, how to live with one another and about God's commandments.

As I continued to grow as a youth and young adult I found happiness in God through teaching Sunday school because of my faith in God and love for the children and youth. Until we discover love within ourselves, we can't authentically share it with anyone else.

Choose love

Finding happiness in God, we create the life that supports our innermost image of ourselves. We create our own possibilities and impossibilities. Loving requires openheartedness and the moral courage Martin Luther King Jr. so often spoke of. It requires that we make a fundamental choice to act with kindness and charity and that we begin recognizing our thinking and our lives in ways that are consistent with our choice to be loving.

Finding happiness in God I find that I must be patient, kind, loving and gentle — those are among the greatest virtues. Loving others is essential to my own spiritual development. No matter how closely the world presses around us and how much of our time our schedules seem to demand, we must make time for heart-to-heart sharing. We must take time to love one another and do unto others as we would have others do unto us.

Each and every day we must pause and give thanks to God and put on our spiritual armor. Through daily communion we develop a deep and personal relationship with God. For me, love, compassion and concerns for others are real sources of happiness. If we really want to find happiness in God we must widen the sphere of love in order to think critically, move wisely and give and share love with others. We must begin with a full cup, a cup that only we ourselves can fill.

"Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee" (Job 22:21, KJB). To find happiness in God you must be at peace with yourself. Acquaintance implies not mere personal knowledge but that intimacy and familiarity that subsists between one friend and another. I find happiness in God by spending a quiet period alone each day, thinking about God and the many blessings God has given me. I give God praise and thanks for all blessings.

Finding happiness in God is being a servant of the word. A servant is one who serves, asking for nothing in return. To serve others we must be compassionate, have love in our heart and understanding of others. Making others happy brings joy to my heart.

I find happiness in God as a helper, I find happiness in God through the backing of the power that created all things. God has unfailing love for each of us. It is said that in Africa there is a fruit called the "taste berry," because it changes a person's taste, making all food eaten after delicious and sweet. Finding happiness in God is the "taste berry" of my life.

Irma Clark is a United Methodist Women director from the Illinois Conference.

Posted or updated: 12/1/2015 11:00:00 PM

November 2015 cover of response

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