My husband and I were recently on a business reward trip to Southern California where the weather was a cool 77 degrees and the ocean views were breathtaking. When we arrived at the resort, we were told that our room was not ready yet, but we were welcome to walk around the property and they would call us as soon as it was available. We nodded our heads in agreement and spent the next few minutes breathing in the ocean air and enjoying this much needed time together as a couple. In no time, my cell phone rang displaying an unidentified California number. When I answered it the clerk said, “Mrs. Rodgers, we appreciate your patience. We have upgraded you and your husband to an ocean view bungalow and it is now ready.” Sweet!
We excitedly hurried to unpack our bags lest the front desk called and said that there had been some sort of a mistake. We knew we were in a place that most would consider to be heaven on earth and we were loving it! After a short FaceTime moment with our young daughters to let them know we had arrived, we propped our feet up and took a moment to relax on our private patio and soak it all in.
As we leafed through the itinerary for the week, I noticed that there was a special breakout session with a gentleman who promised to help me “develop the key to living a happy life according to real data.” It struck me that it’s not at all difficult to feel “happy” while I’m in sunny California, staying in a luxurious bungalow, enjoying the privilege of being able to complete a full conversation with my husband without being interrupted multiple times by our children. It’s when I’m at home in Louisiana and the heat index is at 103 degrees by 10:00AM, and the kids are bickering with each other because they’ve been together 24/7 all summer, and there are still several weeks until school starts that I could use the key to happy living. That’s real data, right there, folks.
And then I remembered: I do have the key to living a happy life and so do you.
Paul said in Philippians 4:12-13, “I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” I love how Paul practically leans in and whispers, “Hey Y’all, come in a little closer. I’ve got a secret to tell you, and it’s this: be happy with what the Lord has given you in each season of life. Rejoice in the good times. Pray in the tough times. But always know that your main source of strength comes from the Lord alone.”
You see, it’s easy to be happy and say that you trust God when you’re on that lovely vacation, or you’ve received the promotion you deserve, or you’re building your dream home. But the real test comes when your company downsizes, and with it, your salary, or you get that phone call from the doctor with less-than-desirable test results. That’s when Paul’s advice of trusting in God to help us be content and allowing Him to take care of us in His strength feels a little bit more like “real data.”
Jesus never promised us a life filled with only roses. In fact, He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33). And that’s who we are to put our trust in, Friend. We trust in a Savior who has overcome the world! No, every day won’t always be easy or filled with plenty. But we are still able to be content and take heart in that season because our God is always faithful.
Rejoice when life is good. Trust and take heart when it’s not. And that right there is the key to living a happy life.