The Task of Happiness


“. . . about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing . . .” Acts 16:25


True happiness and the secret of faith is not that the enemy has limited bandwidth in our life, or that he is ultimately defeated, but rather, confidence in a living victorious God. Shutting our eyes to difficulties is not the answer to surviving. It’s in the living word that tells us how difficulties can be overcome, hardships vanquished and sorrow transformed. 

Paul and Silas in prison is one of the most triumphant moments of New Testament Christianity. It provides us with a picture of how true faith should function. The task of happiness is not found by managing our circumstances to never disappoint, nor in controlling others’ response to us. The task of happiness is finding the faith to sing in all kinds of devastating and difficult circumstances. 

It’s easy enough to be happy when everything is going well. We should be able rejoice when family finances and fitness are fully functioning. But to sing in at midnight in a dungeon is the gift and grace of true faith. 

Paul and Silas had been stripped, scourged, and beaten heavily with rods, and with great pain and suffering, they had been thrown into the inner prison and their feet shacked. Yet, in such a place, under such conditions, they sang. They prayed as well, it’s no surprise they prayed, but to sing hymns, to be joyous, is a remarkable thing. 

Faith in Jesus Christ causes us to find true happiness above and beyond our circumstances. The presence of Jesus is always superior to our surroundings. When situations are darkened and we find ourselves in the prison of problems, pain, and perplexity, the Spirit pulls us up. Oddly, we find our escape not “from” our prison, but “in” our prison. 


Can you worship God fully, unreservedly in the midnight hour? Reach down in your soul beneath the pain and the pressure beyond the problems, and there you will find you still have some praise to offer God.