TRUE AND LASTING HAPPINESS—this is what people are striving to find in this world. There are those who exhaust all means to achieve such state in life, not only for themselves but also for their family.
Many find their happiness when they are successful in their career, while others find it around people who have power and influence in society. Others, still, find joy in life when they have abundance in material possessions or when they have gained fame. However, many people fail to understand that the kind of happiness people enjoy in this world is but fleeting and not the true one.
The sad state of many people
We hear of notable people who were even on top of their respective fields but have revealed that they lived a life overshadowed by grief and misery. We have heard numerous news about successful personalities who took their own lives because they could no longer bear the torment that lingered deep inside them. Come to think of this: even those who make people laugh for a living are plagued by anxiety and, worse, depression. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected” (who.int).
The report by the WHO also explains that “depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family.”
On social media, we see posts of some people saying: “Behind my smile is a sad face.” This should not be taken lightly because such people may be suffering from a certain condition known to experts as “smiling depression.” People with this condition are “appearing happy to others, literally smiling, while internally suffering with depressive symptoms” (psychologytoday.com). This type of depression is likened to wearing a mask: with the mask on, everything in a person’s life seems to be great. But underneath the mask, the individual is suffering from sadness, low self-esteem, and in some cases, suicidal thoughts (Ibid.).
Still, according to the report by the WHO, “At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15–29-year-olds.” Although most people may not be suffering from depression, they also experience sadness due to the problems and troubles they face. This is, in fact, the sad state of many people these days.
Where true and lasting happiness is
The Holy Scriptures attest that people get “worn out with grief” (Ps. 6:6 Good News Bible). If not remedied, grief and sadness may lead to depression. The Bible also tells about those who might seem happy, but deep inside, they really are not:
“Someone who is laughing may be sad inside [Even in laughter the heart may feel pain], and joy may end in sadness.” (Prov. 14:13 Expanded Bible)
Thus, many people face such predicament—though they experience happiness in this world, it is not lasting and may eventually be replaced by sadness. However, the Almighty God offers a solution to this. This is what He declares:
“Pay close attention now: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight. I’ll take joy in Jerusalem, take delight in my people: No more sounds of weeping in the city, no cries of anguish.” (Isa. 65:17–19 The Message)
The Lord God created a “Jerusalem”—where people can experience sheer joy and pure delight—a city where there are “no more sounds of weeping” and “no cries of anguish.” For His part, the Lord Jesus Christ assured that those who would reach that place on His Second Advent “will be happy” and that “no one will take that happiness away” from them (John 16:22 Names of God).
Those who can dwell in the New Jerusalem
The Bible identifies the people who will be able to dwell in the “heavenly Jerusalem” God created. They are the members of “the church, composed of all those registered in heaven” and were redeemed by the blood of Christ (Heb. 12:22–23 Living Bible). That Church is “the true church of Christ” as specified by the Holy Scriptures:
“But you have come into the reality (of which the symbols pointed to), to Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem—the heavenly city of the living God—and you are part of that city. You have come to join millions upon millions of angels rejoicing in God’s presence, into the heavenly sanctuary—the true church of Christ— whose identities are stored in heaven. You have come to God—the source and standard of righteousness for all people; to the archived individualities of righteous human beings perfectly restored into Christlikeness of character.” (Heb. 12:22–23 Remedy New Testament, emphasis ours)
Although true and lasting joy cannot be found in this world, there in the “New Jerusalem,” people can “join millions upon millions of angels rejoicing in God’s presence.” But they have to make sure that they are members of the true Church Of Christ to be able to do so. That is why Christ, Who is “the door of the sheepfold” or flock, invites people from all walks of life to come “into the fold” through Him—or join the Church Of Christ— the flock purchased or redeemed with the blood of Christ (John 10:7, 9 Revised English Bible; Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation).
A future filled with hope and joy
While waiting for Christ’s Second Advent, members of the Church Of Christ may also experience sadness and troubles. But they are able to overcome difficult situations and firmly uphold their Church membership because, like the early servants of God, they continue to trust the Lord God and find their joy in praising and worshiping Him in the house of worship (Ps. 42:5, 4 Contemporary English Version). The Holy Scriptures attest to the value of being dedicated to worshiping God:
“Worship GOD if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness.” (Ps. 34:9 MSG)
This is the reason members of the Church Of Christ devote themselves to worship services even in difficult times. For them, the most important is God as they firmly believe that He will provide the solution to all their troubles and problems. Whenever they feel heavy because of the worries they experience, they tell God about the things that make them sad, afraid, or angry through their prayers. They can expect the Lord God to help them because they matter to Him (I Pet. 5:7 EasyEnglish Bible).
Church Of Christ members make sure to find time to call on the Lord God—especially inside the house of worship—because they firmly believe that, like what God’s early servants experienced, He listens to them and answers their cries for help:
“I called on the LORD in my distress. I cried to my God for help. He heard my voice from his temple, and my cry for help reached his ears.” (Ps. 18:6 God’s Word)
Having this firm conviction, faithful members of the Church Of Christ, even though they go through troubles and pain as they traverse this world, are confident to know that a future filled with great hope and joy awaits them:
“You will have trouble and pain for a short time. But after that, God, who is so completely kind, will make everything right. God has caused you to be united to Christ, so that you will live with him always. You will live with him in the beautiful place where he lives. And God will make you completely as you should be. He will make you strong, so that nothing can ever stop you believing him.” (I Pet. 5:10 EE)
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine, January 2019 issue.