We are living in a culture where our daily preferences and wants are treated as human rights. I think it comes from a belief that anything that negatively affects our happiness is a violation of our rights. When happiness is expected, we believe it needs to happen.
However, happiness is not a human right. An opportunity to pursue and choose it is. In many countries, there isn’t even an opportunity to pursue it, so that would violate human rights. But to believe that we have some God-given right to be happy only makes people bitter for not being happy. Happiness is a choice. It doesn’t come naturally because we often make choices that lead us to an unhealthy lifestyle.
So, to be happy, many people try hard to be happy by making many lifestyle choices. Some resort to fitness, some resort to hobbies, and some resort to travel. Regardless, such happiness is based on how we feel “at the moment.” But as we know, though positive lifestyle change can immensely impact how we experience life at the moment, it does not solve our continuous worry about our “future.” Even when people achieve the happiness they are satisfied with, they cannot help but worry about losing it because death is an unavoidable and undeniable enemy. We are reminded that our future will end with death, a terrifying uncertainty for many people. Being able to choose the best experience today loses its appeal if the person is scheduled to die tomorrow. Having a choice means very little without the certainty of a positive future.
Following Jesus does not guarantee a happy life. Many Christians battle many kinds of depression and anxiety, just like others. Many Christian couples confess their marriage is not happy. But following Jesus significantly increases our chance of becoming happy because it removes the fear and uncertainty of our future. Bible tells us that God holds the future in his hands (Psalm 16:5), our ultimate enemy “death” will eventually be swallowed up by life (1 Cor 15:54), and our life will end in everlasting celebration with perfect lover in Christ. (Revelation 19:7-10) Hope does not guarantee present happiness. But it allows us to choose confidently how we decide to treat our present, enhancing our chance of experiencing happiness.