Happiness is a choice

Published 8:19 am Tuesday, December 28, 2021

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: Happiness is a choice, some say. Is this really true? — H.C.

Dear H.C.: Happiness comes in two forms. One is when our circumstances are pleasant and we are relatively free from troubles. The problem, however, is that this kind of happiness is fleeting and superficial. When circumstances change — as they inevitably do — then this kind of happiness evaporates like the early morning fog in the heat of the sun.
But when our outward circumstances are seemingly ideal, we still may be troubled inside by a nagging hunger or longing for something we cannot identify. We say we are “happy” but down inside we know it is only temporary and shallow at best. Yes, from time to time we may think we have found a degree of happiness, but sooner or later it will vanish. Our search, then, remains unfulfilled.
But there is another kind of happiness — the kind for which we all long. This kind of happiness is lasting; it is an inner joy and peace, which endures in any circumstance no matter what comes our way. It may even grow stronger in adversity. This is the kind of happiness to which Jesus summons us in the Beatitudes and comes only from God. He alone has the answer to our search for lasting happiness. “He who heeds the word [of God] wisely will find good… happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20).
Such happiness for which our souls ache is one undisturbed by success or failure, one that dwells deep within us and gives us inward contentment even in despairing circumstances; it needs no outward stimulus. Happy is the person who has learned the secret of being content with whatever life brings, and then to share this secret with others who need encouragement.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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