Americans Were Googling ‘Happiness’ More Than Ever in 2020, But How Can the Church Help People Actually Find It?
By Derwin Gray
For years people have searched for happiness in all the wrong places: money, a job, relationships, success, and health. In 2020, many of these comforts were stripped away from us. The question on everyone’s mind, according to Google, was: How do I find happiness?
Happiness was searched more than ever before in 2020. In the midst of a pandemic, political strife, and financial hardship, people wanted to know how to find it—because it seemed more elusive than ever.
As God’s divine providence would have it, I released The Good Life: What Jesus Teaches About Finding True Happiness in 2020. Many people asked me what it was like to release a book about happiness in the middle of a year where happiness seemed out of reach for many. My response: “God is always on time.”
Even before the pandemic, which has led to the loss of life, as well as the collapse of our economy and the depletion of hope, Americans were unhappy. Do you find it odd that in the land of plenty, we lack happiness?
In my pastoral experience, the unhappiness that Americans have become dependent on external circumstances to make us internally happy. Once those external circumstances go south, so does our sense of wellbeing.
2020 forced us to slow down. We had time to look inside our hearts and we didn’t like what saw and felt. We were left wondering, “Can happiness ever really be found?”
As we move into 2021, how do we find this happiness that so many are searching for? What does true happiness look like and how can the church obtain it?
Discover that God actually does want His people to be happy.
Jesus is the happiest person who has ever lived. In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), Jesus shares his secret to happiness with us. In these verses, Jesus describes eight characteristics of a blessed person. The Greek word for “blessed” is makários. It means “a state of happiness.”Jesus is inviting weary souls that have chased after happiness to come to Him. Here we find rest, peace, love, forgiveness, and happiness. Click To Tweet
Jesus is inviting weary souls that have chased after happiness to come to Him. Here we find rest, peace, love, forgiveness, and happiness.
Realize that created things cannot satisfy.
We were created to experience the divine love of the Uncreated Creator. We all desire happiness that goes beyond the surface of our circumstances into the depths of our souls.
Yet we continue to ask created things, including people, places, and possessions, to do what they were never meant to do, which is make us happy.
Embrace what true happiness is not.
Perpetually feeling good or having good things consistently happening to us isn’t the mark of biblical happiness. True happiness, as expressed in the Beatitudes, is about Jesus making us good.Perpetually feeling good or having good things consistently happening to us isn’t the mark of biblical happiness. True happiness, as expressed in the Beatitudes, is about Jesus making us good. Click To Tweet
He graciously invites us to share in His life so we can become reliant on God. We become compassionate, humble, loving, merciful, and develop the capacity to love our enemies.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes, “The happiness which God designs for his highest creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and woman in his earth is mere milk and water.”
So when people are searching Google for happiness, what they’re actually searching for is a connection with God—a transformation that unites us to our heavenly Father and is available to us through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.When people are searching Google for happiness, what they’re actually searching for is a connection with God. — @DerwinLGray Click To Tweet
I pray that in 2021, more people will discover the happiness they were created for. The happiness that can only come from our Father that never runs out. It’s not happiness that Google can help with. It is only accessed through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Derwin is the founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. He is a former NFL safety and is the author of Limitless Life, The HD Leader, and his latest, a release from B&H Publishing, The Good Life: What Jesus Teaches About Finding True Happiness.