I’ll be happy when I’m done with school. I’ll be happy when I’m married. I’ll be happy when I have kids. I’ll be happy when the kids leave the house. I’ll be happy when I get a job. I’ll be happy when I retire.
I’ll be happy when . . . ?
As I think about it, I say those words a lot more than I realize. I often let my present happiness be determined by a future condition that might not even happen. And as I pause to think about it, why would I make my happiness depend on an uncertain condition in the future? I think my personal and emotional well-being are too important to chance on something like that.
More than that, God points to the conditions for my happiness as far different: “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2-4).
Let’s try this out. See if you can say this next sentence out loud: I’ll be happy when I face difficulties that complicate multiple areas of my life at the same time.
The older you get, the more you realize that it was during the difficult seasons of life that God grew you the most. It’s when you were stretched thin that he made your faith more resilient and your purpose more determined.
Perhaps “when” has been an unnecessary obstacle to the joy and happiness right in front of you. Let God set the conditions for your happiness. He says that even in difficult times, he is working out something good.