Happy or Blessed?

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,

who walk in obedience to him.

You will eat the fruit of your labor;

blessings and prosperity will be yours. (Psalm 128:1-2)

I remember as a child refusing to clap my hands for the song, If You’re Happy and You Know It” when I didn’t feel particularly happy. Later in life, I learned that Biblical happiness is much more than a fleeting sense of pleasure. It is often translated “blessed,” and it refers to a much deeper spiritual sense of contentment that persists in spite of outward circumstances of loss or lack.

I have had periods of depression where I’ve had to force myself to get out of bed. The idea of putting on a happy face and pretending all was fine with me and my world was repulsive. It seemed the height of insincerity. Nothing short of a lie.

Yet as a pastor, it was my job to convey a sense of blessedness, to pass on a blessing whether I felt like it or not. As a parent, it is my job to show my children the joy of the LORD. I haven’t often done these things well, but I thank God for the strength and energy I have received to get it right at least as often as I have.

I may not always feel happy in the “smiley-face” sense of the word—but I am truly blessed. In my relationship with God. In my relationships within my family. In my relationships with all who love me no matter how dark my mood happens to be at the time. Like it or not, I’ve been blessed—to be a blessing to others.

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