Happiness is a by-product, not an end in itself

Published 8:49 am Monday, March 16, 2020

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: Our country is obsessed with happiness, but is it a promise from God that we can be happy? — P.H.

Dear P.H.: Thomas Jefferson wrote about “the pursuit of happiness.” But for many it is a delusion. While Jefferson was correct that we should have a “right” to pursue happiness, a problem is created when people pursue it without knowing exactly what they are looking for or where to find it.

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Happiness is a by-product, not an end in itself. Happiness cannot be pursued any more than one can pursue a cloudless day, grasp it, put it in a bottle, and then bring it out on a rainy day to enjoy again. True happiness is not superficial and fleeting, as a day at an amusement park might be.

True happiness begins when one is in a right relationship with God. In fact, God is the only source of true happiness, because He offers those intangibles that we mistakenly believe can be found on earth: contentment, security, peace, and hope for the future. None of these can be found in a job, a human relationship, money, power, or position. They are God’s alone to give. That is why the Lord Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, told where ultimate happiness lies when He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

The Bible teaches that faith is the only approach that we have to God who blesses His creation. No one has sins forgiven, no one goes to heaven, and no one has assurance of peace and happiness, until he has faith in Jesus Christ.

Happy is the person who has learned the secret of being content with whatever life brings him, and has learned to rejoice in the simple and beautiful things that come from the hand of God.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)