Q: Doesn’t God want us to be happy instead of miserable? If so, even if we do something God doesn’t exactly approve of, won’t he overlook it as long as it makes us happy? — S.M.
A: Yes, God wants us to be happy, because he loves us — and if you love someone, you don’t want them to be miserable. The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament declared, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy. … This is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
But you’re wrong to suggest that God isn’t concerned about the way we live as long as it makes us happy. God knows far better than we do that what seems to make us happy at the time actually can make us miserable later on. God has told us how he wants us to live, but when we ignore him and go our own way, we may think we’re happy, but eventually we’ll pay the price. As the Bible says, we may “enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25), but sin’s pleasures are exactly that: fleeting.
True happiness — happiness that lasts — does not come from ideal circumstances or unlimited pleasures. True happiness comes only from God — and it comes from knowing we belong to him, and that he is with us every moment of the day. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27).
Don’t be deceived, and don’t go down the wrong road in life, no matter how attractive it seems at first. Instead, turn to Jesus Christ and commit your life to him. God loves you, and his way is always best — both for this life, and for the life to come.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.