June 12, 2006
Donât Worry; Be Happy!
By Pastor George Van Alstine
Bobby McFerrinâs simple reggae-style melody seems to bubble with optimismââ?Donât worry; be happy!â? You just have to smile when your hear it.
If only it were that simple! Youâre sad? Depressed? Donât stay there another second. Just decide to be happy, and you will be.
But how can you decide such a thing? It seems silly. Our dark moods seem to be the natural response to depressing circumstances. You feel this way because of whatâs happening to you. Because the circumstances are beyond your control, your emotional response seems beyond your control as well. Only a fool would say âDonât worry; be happy!â? in a situation like the one youâre going through.
Psalm 16 in the Old Testament is just about as optimistic as Bobby McFerrinâs song. And a key element in the psalmâs formula for happiness is a decision to be happy:
âI set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.â? (verses 8-9)
Some people choose not to âset the Lordâ? always before them, and their choice results in unhappiness. They âchoose another godâ? and therefore âmultiply their sorrowsâ? (verse 4). âAnother godâ? may be their attempt to be satisfied with the worldâs treasures and pleasures. But the happy person of Psalm 16 says by contrast, âThe Lord is my chosen portionâ? (verse 5).
This basic decision makes all the difference. Because of it, the psalmist can say:
âI have a goodly heritageâ? (verse 6)
âMy heart is glad, and my soul rejoices:âYou show me the path of life. In your presence there is fulness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.â? (verse 11)
So if you make this basic choice and then âsetâ? yourself on it day by day, and moment by moment you will have guaranteed happiness. Your feelings will not be at the whim of circumstances. You can constantly and truthfully say to yourself, âDonât worry; be happy!â?
It really is that simple!