Have you ever asked yourself the question, based on God's Word, does God want us to be happy? Does he care about that? Do the little concerns of our life matter to him, or is he mainly concerned with getting us to heaven?
All over the world, in every culture, people are searching for happiness. People look all sorts of different places to help them cover, or numb or forget the pain of this life.
I have overhead many well meaning Christians say, "God doesn't want you to be happy. He wants you to be holy." This answer sounds biblical, and intense, so it must be true, right? Isn't God more concerned with us obeying all his rules, than smiling all the time? Actually, I think we are missing a really powerful truth here, and it dramatically affects our understanding of how good God really is.
My answer. Does God want us to be happy? Yes, God wants us to be happy - always and ultimately and eternally.
Well, doesn't God want us to be holy? Yes, of course, always and ultimately and eternally.
These two are actually significantly linked. God wants us to be holy, because he wants us to be happy for more than a brief moment. God created us, he knows how we were created to live and what will give our life meaning. Most importantly, God knows that the closer we get to him, the more happy and fulfilled we will be. So he lovingly calls us to obey and to draw close to him.
Like a parent telling their child, don't run in front of that car, or don't drink that household poison, or stay away from the edge of that cliff, God warns and chides us to protect and care for us.
Hebrews 12:5-11 explains more, "Have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God."
So does God want us to be happy? Of course he does. He gave us everything in his Son. He cares about the details of our lives. (see Psalm 37:23) Like a good parent, God cares for us and wants us to live happy, fulfilled, deeply meaningful lives on this earth, and to be with him forever in the eternal joy of his presence and glory.
There are times when God, in his infinite wisdom and protection, asks us to forego momentary pleasures of this world in order for us to pursue much greater, deeper, lasting joy. God wants us to be happy for more than a moment.