D. Happy people are incurably optimistic.
Angelo Siciliano was a ninety-seven pound (44 kilogram) runt at the age of sixteen. He was bullied around by classmates, pushed around by friend and foe alike. As any physically weak and small teenager, life was not the best. However, one day he saw the statues of Apollo and Hercules in the Brooklyn Museum in New York. These images of two Greek gods formed an image in his own mind as to what he wanted to be. He immediately bought a newspaper and started exercising according to an exercise program that was printed in the newspaper. He eventually developed his own exercise program. He took control of his destiny through exercise. A few years later, his dreams were realized. We know him today as Charles Atlas.
Pessimism and unhappiness are twins. Numerous surveys have been conducted concerning the mental state of those who are successful in the business world. Every survey concludes that optimistic, cheerful business people who always look on the bright side of things are more successful than pessimistic business people. Successful people are optimistic about the future. On the other hand, pessimism produces unhappiness and unhappiness produces dis – ease, or better, disease.
Dr. Maxwell Maltz once wrote of a businessman who told him, “I have just lost $200,000 on the stock market. I am ruined and disgraced.” Maltz then said to the man. “It is a fact that you lost $200,000. It is your opinion that you are ruined and disgraced.”
Happy people never add their opinion to the circumstances. They are simply optimistic about the future. The great inventor Thomas Edison once lost a multimillion dollar laboratory in a fire. Someone asked him immediately after the fire, “What will you do now?” Mr. Edison replied, “We will start rebuilding tomorrow morning.” When things look bad, focus on good things to come. Truly happy people are incurably optimistic about the future. They always look on the bright side of things. And by looking on the bright side of things, things that are good are happening in their lives.
E. Happy people allow the Lord to be their God.
Last and most important of all, the road to genuine happiness begins with faith that God is here. There is no truly happy atheist. A truly happy atheist is an oxymoron. No atheist can rejoicefully say, “Thank God I’m an atheist.”
“Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Ps 144:15). It’s true. “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Ps 146:5). “… whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he” (Pv 16:20). When God is our Lord, we have laid the foundation for true happiness. It is for this reason that the materialist never reaches for that which he or she strives. Someone once said, “Be poor and sleep well. Be rich and sleep restlessly.” If we make riches our god, this god will not bring the serendipity of a good night’s rest. If God is our Lord, we will have the peace of mind that passes all understanding.
Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Ph 4:6,7). Those who trust in God have One to whom they can go for help. Just knowing that all things are working together for good brings an unexplainable sense of tranquility. And this we know: “… we know that all things work together for good to those who love God …” (Rm 8:28). Only those who truly believe in God can reap the emotional peace of mind that comes from statements as Jesus to His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jn 14:1). Believers can come to Jesus for peace of mind. They will answer His plea. “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:28,29).
Happy people believe in God. They are thus obedient to His will. Their obedience brings peace of mind. And in peace of mind there is true happiness. Solomon was right. “… happy is he who keeps the law” (Pv 29:18). It is as Jesus said. “Happy are they that hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:28 – TEV). It is true, therefore, that the happiest people in the world are those people who believe in God and submit to His will. Their happiness is founded on what is yet to come, not what is only in this life. If you would be happy in the truest sense, you must focus on God and what He has prepared for those who love Him. And what He has prepared for the righteous is an eternal home of glory in His presence. This is the hope and happiness of the righteous sons of God. Always remember the following words that are from God to encourage each of us:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.