by Carol Round -“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live”— Ecclesiastes 3:12(NIV).
Standing on my deck, my five-year-old granddaughter sang a popular song released in 2000. She sang at the top of her lungs, “Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who, who? Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who, who?”
As she belted out the lyrics, several neighborhood dogs started barking and howling. Ruby stopped long enough to hear the dogs’ response before she continued singing. However, in a fit of giggles, she couldn’t continue when I said, “Ruby, I think they are singing along with you. What do you think?”
The rest of our day was filled with more happy moments as I experienced the joy life brings when you’re spending time with a child. Maybe that’s why Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
If You’re Happy
A recent devotional in Mornings with Jesus led me to contemplate the simplicity of being happy. Barbranda Lumpkins Walls wrote about calling her mother, who lives in an assisted living facility. Although she calls several times a week, Walls was surprised by her mother’s answer one day when she called. “Hi, Mom. How are you doing?”
Says Walls, “Instead of answering, ‘I’m doing just fine,’ her mother replied, ‘I’m happy as a hot dog!’”
After erupting into laughter, Walls’ mother added, “I have my health. I have a nice clean place to live and good food to eat. What more could I ask for? Honey, I’m wonderfully blessed.”
Finding Happiness Each Day
With everything going on in our world today, it’s sometimes difficult to experience happiness. However, as the writer of Ecclesiastes writes in chapter 13:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (NIV).
Jesus reminds us in John 16:33 that “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
When we’re experiencing trouble, we often forget to “count it all joy” when “we fall into various trials” (James 1:2-3). Without those trials, how could we grow in our faith, learn to appreciate each day—especially the simple things, and yes, learn patience?
The Key to Happiness
When I gave my life to Jesus, I discovered my real identity. Instead of being a people-pleaser and seeking to acquire things to fit in with the crowd, I learned happiness is found in the simple life and celebrating God’s goodness.
American pastor Henry Ward Beecher once said, “The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”
I agree. It’s found in spending time with your loved ones and laughing until your side hurts. Sharing moments, whether in person or on the phone. And, even in a simple hot dog.