Although it may surprise you, the answer to this question is very simple. The only way that we will ever be happy is to surrender to God’s will. That’s it! Although it may sound simplistic, that is the ultimate answer. If we are constantly doing what God wants us to do, we will be happy.
But how does suffering fit into the picture? Obviously we can’t be happy while we are suffering, can we? Believe it or not, we can. While it won’t be the giddy type of happiness that we feel when things are going great, we can experience a deep peace or joy even while our world seems to be falling apart.
Here are five things to consider which will help you make it through even the greatest suffering:
- It is God’s will. Nothing can happen to us without God’s approval. Anything that happens in our lives is God’s will. While it might not take away all of the pain, this knowledge can definitely help us to cope.
- It is good for you. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul makes it clear that God can bring good out of all things (see Romans 8:28) including pain and suffering. We may never fully understand the details, but the difficulties we experience are designed to help us get to heaven.
- It’s a chance to trust God. Anytime you experience suffering, you are given a chance to trust the Lord. Over time, these opportunities can result in an increased faith. If everything is going smoothly in your life, why would you need to trust God?
- It is temporary. All earthly suffering is temporary. It will either be gone in this life or in the next. When you die, your problems die with you. The very fact that you know it won’t last will make your cross a little lighter.
- It can unite you to Christ. When we suffer, we have the chance to participate in Christ’s redemptive mission (see Colossians 1:24). Uniting our suffering with the suffering of Jesus allows us to put it to use. On the other hand, complaining about it causes us to waste a great opportunity.
If we think that happiness can only be found in the absence of problems, we will never be happy. It is impossible to get through even one day without some degree of suffering or inconvenience. True happiness can only be found by embracing God’s will … even when it involves suffering!
“Suffering passes; to have suffered willingly remains eternally.” —St. Thérèse of Lisieux