Yes, You Can Find Happiness
HAPPINESS—genuine, lasting happiness—is sometimes hard to find. That is particularly so because many people in their relentless search for happiness look in the wrong places. If only they had a trusted and qualified friend who could point them in the right direction!
The Bible is a source of that needed direction. Consider just one of its books—Psalms. This book is a collection of 150 sacred songs to Jehovah God, about half being composed by King David of ancient Israel. But of greater importance than knowing the identity of the writers is knowing that this book was written under the inspiration of mankind’s greatest Friend, Jehovah. We can thus be sure that it contains divine guidance for our good and that it points the way to happiness.
The writers of the Psalms were sure that happiness is a by-product of a person’s having a wholesome relationship with God. “Happy is the man in fear of Jehovah,” wrote the psalmist. (Psalm 112:1) No human relationship, no material possession, and no personal accomplishment can bring the happiness that comes from belonging to “the people whose God is Jehovah.” (Psalm 144:15) The lives of numerous modern-day servants of God bear this out.
Susanne, in her early 40’s, is one example.* She said: “Today, many join certain groups to achieve common goals or to share common interests. Seldom, however, do they view everyone in the group as a friend. With Jehovah’s people, it is different. Our love for Jehovah makes us have affection for one another. Among God’s people, we are at home, regardless of where we happen to be at the moment. This unity enriches our life enormously. Who else can lay claim to having friends from totally different social groups and backgrounds and of the widest variety of nationalities? With all my heart, I can say that belonging to Jehovah’s people is what results in happiness.”
Maree, born in Scotland, also learned that a fine relationship with Jehovah is vital if one is to find happiness. “Before learning Bible truth,” she related, “I enjoyed watching horror movies. But at night I couldn’t get to sleep without holding a cross in my hand to ward off ghosts and vampires, which many of the films were about. Once I learned the truth, however, and stopped watching such films, my relationship with Jehovah made it possible for me to go to bed without fear, happy to serve a God more powerful than demons or imagined vampires.”
Trusting in Jehovah Leads to Happiness
We have no reason to doubt the Creator’s almightiness and his limitless wisdom. Knowing that he could have complete confidence in Jehovah and that he could take refuge in Him, David wrote: “Happy is the able-bodied man that has put Jehovah as his trust.”—Psalm 40:4.
Maria said: “My experience in Spain and elsewhere has been that when we do things Jehovah’s way, even though our feelings and emotions may incline us to do otherwise, we get the best possible results. This makes for happiness because Jehovah’s way is always the best.”
Andreas, a Christian elder who has served in several European lands, also knows from personal experience that we can put our trust in Jehovah. He said: “My older brother, who does not share my faith, strongly influenced me during my youth, encouraging me to pursue a financially rewarding career. He was extremely disappointed when I took up the ministry full-time and did not rely on the so-called security provided by secular pension plans. During my full-time service, I have never been in need, and I have experienced blessings of which others can only dream.”
In 1993, Felix was invited to help enlarge the facilities of the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Selters, Germany. Once the work was finished, he was invited to become a permanent part of the Bethel family there. His reaction? “I accepted the invitation with certain reservations. But now I have been here for almost ten years, and I am convinced that Jehovah answered my prayers. He knows what is best for me. By placing complete confidence in him and letting him direct me, I give him an opportunity to show me what he wants me to do.”
Susanne, mentioned earlier, wanted to serve as a full-time minister, a pioneer, but she had difficulty finding a part-time job. After waiting a year for something to turn up, she acted with trust in Jehovah. She related: “I turned in my application for regular pioneering. I had saved enough to pay my normal expenses for about a month. And what a dramatic month it turned out to be! My ministry was a source of great joy, but one job interview after another failed. As Jehovah had promised, however, he did not desert me. On the last day of the month, I was able to sign a job contract. Now I knew that I really could trust in Jehovah! This first experience in full-time service has contributed to a rewarding and happy life.”
Accepting Divine Counsel Adds to Happiness
King David made some serious mistakes. At times, he needed wise counsel. Are we as willing to accept counsel and instruction as David was?
Aida, from France, once realized that she had made a serious mistake. She recounted: “My main concern was to restore my relationship with Jehovah. Nothing else mattered.” She approached Christian elders for help. Having served for over 14 years in the full-time ministry, she now says: “How gratifying to know that Jehovah forgave my error!”
Being receptive to divine counsel can prevent us from making a mistake in the first place. Judith explained: “At the age of 20, I became infatuated with a German business associate who tried his best to impress me. He was respected, had a brilliant career, and was already married! I realized that I had to choose between obeying Jehovah’s laws and completely turning my back on Him. I confided in my parents. My father did not mince his words in reminding me of what Jehovah expected of me. He spoke to me in no uncertain terms—just what I needed! Even so, my heart sought a loophole. For weeks my mother spent evenings talking to me about how important and lifesaving God’s laws are. I am so grateful that my heart was gradually drawn to Jehovah. To be disciplined and taught by him has brought me great happiness—many rewarding years in the full-time ministry and a fine Christian mate, who loves me and loves Jehovah wholeheartedly.”
Clearly, such experiences underscore David’s words: “Happy is the one whose revolt is pardoned, whose sin is covered. Happy is the man to whose account Jehovah does not put error.”—Psalm 32:1, 2.
Happiness From Showing Consideration to Others
“Happy is anyone acting with consideration toward the lowly one,” David wrote. He continued: “In the day of calamity Jehovah will provide escape for him. Jehovah himself will guard him and preserve him alive. He will be pronounced happy.” (Psalm 41:1, 2) The loving consideration that David showed toward Mephibosheth, the lame son of David’s beloved friend Jonathan, is an example of the right attitude toward the lowly one.—2 Samuel 9:1-13.
Marlies, who has been a missionary for 47 years, is privileged to preach among people who had to flee from crisis areas of Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. She said: “They have a variety of problems and generally feel that they are not fully accepted, that they, in fact, are discriminated against. Helping such people always brings happiness.”
Marina, in her early 40’s, wrote: “Being single, I know what it means when others are there for you. This moves me to encourage people by telephoning them or writing them letters. Many have expressed their appreciation. Helping others brings me joy.”
Dimitar, who is in his mid-20’s, said: “My mother raised me by herself. When I was a youngster, I was happy to have a Congregation Book Study overseer who took me along every week to train me in the ministry. I am still grateful for his persistence. I know it was not always easy to motivate me.” Out of gratitude for the help he once received, Dimitar now aids others: “I try to take a young person and also an older one along with me in the field ministry at least once a month.”
The book of Psalms also mentions other things that make for happiness. One is the importance of relying on Jehovah’s strength rather than on oneself: “Happy are the men whose strength is in [Jehovah].”—Psalm 84:5.
Corinna can relate to this. She moved to a country where there was a great need in the ministry. “I encountered a new language, a new culture, and a new way of thinking. I felt as though I were on a different planet. I choked up at the thought of preaching in a strange environment. I asked Jehovah for help, and it was in his strength that I was able to preach all day in isolated territory. In time, doing so seemed to be the most natural thing in the world. I started many Bible studies, and I am still benefiting from this experience. I learned that in Jehovah’s strength, we can overcome even seemingly insurmountable obstacles.”
Yes, various factors contribute to happiness, such as cultivating friendship with God and with his people, trusting in Jehovah implicitly, accepting his divine counsel, and being considerate of others. By walking in Jehovah’s ways and obeying his laws, we can happily bask in his favor.—Psalm 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 128:1, 2.
Some names have been changed.
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Susanne and Andreas
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