Have you ever tried to catch the wind? Sailboats trim their sails to catch the wind currents to move forward. Kites launch on the breeze and drift wherever the wind takes them. Wind chimes ring out their melodies as the wind softly taps the tubes against the striker.
Recently I was working outside and it was completely silent except for the sound of the wind rustling the leaves of the trees. I stopped for a minute and turned my face into the wind and lifted my hand, cupping my palm to catch the breeze. I could feel it whispering into and around my palm and over my fingers. But did I really catch the wind, or did it catch me? Wind is elusive. It is intangible. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, and you can never contain it.
Just as the wind is elusive, sometimes happiness is too. Many times I’ve heard, “Life’s too short to be unhappy.” Translation – your happiness comes above everything else. Let’s face it – we live in a me-centered world. Most people go through life searching for happiness as though it’s a destination. It’s what we strive toward, what we hope to achieve one day. We tell ourselves that when this or that happens, we will be happy — only to find out that when one problem is solved, another takes its place. Sometimes it seems utterly impossible to get to a place of happiness in our lives.
King Solomon tried everything imaginable to reach lasting happiness. As the richest man in the known world at that time, he found that he couldn’t buy happiness. As the most powerful person in the kingdom, any whim was instantly filled and he was still unable to satisfy his own heart. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines and never found true love. He found that these pursuits unsatisfying, meaningless and did not bring happiness.
Securing our own happiness is just like trying to catch the wind. We try to chase it, but it always seems to be just out of reach. We will never find true and complete happiness in this world. However, we can always have joy.
As my kids in Sunday School would say, “Wait, Ms. Kim, what?”
There is a difference between happiness and joy. We live in a fallen world and happiness is dependent upon our circumstances. Just as King Solomon discovered, all of our wishes in the world can be granted and we won’t find true happiness. You can be a size six and still not be happy. But, regardless of our circumstances, instead of searching for happiness, we should allow God’s joy and peace to reign in our hearts. We can find true contentment in any circumstance by looking to God.
Joy is not a place to be, but it’s a path. It’s not a destination, but a way. We don’t go out to joy, but instead go through joy.
We are all striving to reach the place where we can be our true selves and live our best lives. Isaiah 55:12 reads:
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Simply put, the only way to get from our broken lives to redeemed lives is through joy. In today’s world, this is an unheard of way of thinking because it the complete opposite of the way most of our society believes. The verse tells us to joyful all the time and not to wait until circumstances line up so that we may possibly feel happy or joyful. It demands that we make joy our way of life instead of spending our lives trying to get there.
All the money and material possessions in the world won’t give you joy. Neither will being a certain size, worldly pleasures nor satisfying appetites of the flesh with alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, you name it.
So how can we be joyful no matter what our situation may be?
The Bible often uses the word blessed, meaning “how how happy.” In the Psalms we read blessed are those whose sins are forgiven (Psalm 32:1), who trust in the Lord (Psalm 40:4) and who draw near to God (Psalm 65:4). Joy enables us to be close to God. The true source of joy, peace and pleasure is God.
I have a coworker that is always joyful, always smiling no matter how hectic or stressful her day has been. Many times she’s been asked, “Why are you so happy all the time?” Without hesitation she’ll reply, “I have plenty of reasons to be happy. I know Who’s got me!”
Don’t wait to be happy – make up your mind to be joyful every day, starting right now. Don’t waste another second of your time by trying to catch the wind. Find true joy by catching the Maker of the wind!
Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Father God, thank You for Your love and greatness. I praise You for Your great wisdom and strength. Fill my heart with Your joy so that I can rejoice in all of life’s circumstances, the good times and the bad. Thank You for Your joy, which is my strength. Help me to always remain in Your love so that my joy will overflow and reach out to others. In Your Son’s most precious and holy name I pray, Amen.