Happiness and contentment

A woman named Sarah went to visit Martin Thielen. She had marriage problems, problems with her children, and overwhelming stress in her job. He asked her what she wanted most out of life.

Turns out, she wanted to be happy. After thinking for a few moments she explained further: “I make a lot of money. I’m successful in my profession. And people tell me I’m attractive. Yet I’m terribly unhappy. So I want to know—if money, success, and beauty don’t make you happy, what does?”*

I like happiness. I’m sure you like happiness. But we can get thrown off track if we think that life is all about happiness.

There are times when you’ll be happy. There are times when you won’t be. In and through it all we seek to glorify and serve God as the loving hands and feet of Jesus.

Today I just felt we should dwell on that.

If you’re not happy all the time, you’re not alone. If you believe in God and still have struggles, you’re not alone. If you’ve spent too much time pursuing the wrong kind of success, not you’re alone.

God is with you because you are with Jesus. There will be smiles. There will be tears. There will be progress. There will be setbacks. 

In Philippians 4:11 Paul says “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” And when he says “whatever the circumstances” he means it. That guy experienced more hardship than most people would experience in five lifetimes. But he could be content because he was be faithful to God’s call on his life and because God gave him strength (verse 13).

That’s helpful for you and me. Happiness comes and happiness goes. But we can be content when we are faithful to God’s call on our lives knowing that God will give us strength.

True contentment isn’t the result of getting everything your way, but walking in God’s.


–*Martin Thielen, Searching for Happiness (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016), ix.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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