“Go ahead and be happy, nothing bad will happen.”
This pithy aphorism was spoken to me a while back over breakfast with a college professor of mine whom I’ve kept up. What he meant, of course, was not, “Go ahead and be happy, because nothing bad will ever happen,” but “Go ahead and be happy, nothing bad will happen as a result.” As you may have guessed, I’d presented him that day with a less than glowing life update!
I’m thinking about this conversation because recently I’ve been returning repeatedly to Psalm 100. The primary theme I’m noticing there is the extent to which God wants us to be happy—like really really happy, because of our security in his love for us; a love that ultimately led him to come in the person of Jesus to redeem us. Sorrow and struggle are real, and there are plenty of Psalms that teach us to cultivate lament. But at the same time, there’s no need to spend our entire lives waiting for the other shoe to drop, or glumly ruminating on our disappointments and frustrations.
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.