You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness. PSALM 30:11
Bob Russell, longtime pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, shared this in a sermon one evening: What if I asked you tonight, on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy you are right now? If you answered with anything other than a 9 or a 10, you'd probably go on to qualify your answer by saying, "Well, there are some circumstances in my life today that are less than ideal."
I'll bet, though, that I could make you exuberantly happy within twenty-four hours without changing even one of the circumstances you're living in right now.
But it would be a brutal twenty-four hours.
I'd have your lawyer call to tell you that you were being sued, that it looked like you were going to lose every dime you had. Then I'd have your doctor call to tell you that he's looked at your latest tests and thinks you have a terminal disease—you've got just six months to live. Then I'd have a trusted friend call to tell you that the three people who are closest to you in life had just been killed in a traffic accident. Then I'd have a theologian that you trust submit an article saying that the Bible is not true—that he no longer believes in Christ.
Then, after twenty-four hours, I'd say to you, "None of this is true. You still have your nest egg, you still have your loved ones, you still have your health, and you still have your church and your hope in Christ."
You'd probably want to punch me out, but you'd be exuberantly happy, even with the same circumstances you started with.
Happiness is largely a matter of perspective, isn't it? No matter what your circumstances, God can make you "exuberantly happy" . . . as long as you are keeping your eyes on Him.
What circumstances are causing you to feel anxiety rather than "exuberant happiness"?
Pray for a deeper dependence on God, a greater contentment with His good gifts and a deeper compassion for others' suffering.