If I were a modern psalmist, writing honestly about happy people, my rough draft would start off something like this:
“Happy are those who have air conditioning in summer, who have heat in winter, and who eat at Popeyes whenever they want. Happy are those with enough in their retirement accounts, who can take a vacation semi-regularly, who know how to disconnect from Facebook. Happy are those who have healthy family systems, who like their jobs, who feel valued. Happy are they who have Amazon Prime, who fit into their bathing suits, and who don’t have to mow their own grass.”
But the wisdom of the ancients makes my standards for happiness seem laughable. Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God (v. 5). Why? Certainly not because they have comfortable lives. (In that case, who would need help and hope?) These people are happy because of who God is: powerful enough to sustain them through disaster and tragedy, and faithful to remember those who are suffering and hopeless. According to their witness, happiness is found in the God who created the earth from scratch, called it good, and keeps it from completely falling apart every second. This Creator of the Universe pays enough attention to detail to notice our lives and care about our hungry bellies, distorted vision, and unjust oppression. That Powerful God acts in our favor, lifting up those who are bowed down and loving us unfailingly. With God as our standard for happiness, who wouldn’t rejoice?
What makes you truly happy?
God of the universe and the details, remind me of the joy it is to belong to you. Amen.