Combatting Unhappiness

Michael Beck

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Thoreau

While many give the appearance of doing fine, they are often “treading water” and one event away from “going under.”

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. (Psalm 69:1-3)

Life, as it is in this world, is so often miserable to man.

Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. (Ecclesiastes 8:6)

Scripture testifies that all of creation, without exception, is groaning and travailing in pain.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Romans 8:22)

Life contributes to madness of heart.

This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. (Ecclesiastes 9:3)

David was gripped with unexplainable unhappiness.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. (Psalm 42:11)

Men are always looking for something in this life and world to alleviate their unhappiness.

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

God’s people did not allow their relationship with Him be their one unfailing source of happiness. They sought solace from the “waters” that strange gods provided. They ended up with an experience of deep dissatisfaction and bitterness. 

And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts. For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. (Jeremiah 2:18-20)

The backslider is the most miserable of people because he knows there is a life in God that could satisfy him.

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. (Proverbs 14:14)

We need revival when we have not been living where we should be with God. Revival becomes necessary when we’ve allowed ourselves to become weary with God. God would do a “new thing” in our life if we would begin to give Him the worship He deserves.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isaiah 43:19-25)

True worship involves living for God’s pleasure and not our own. It means we are “rich toward God” and not toward ourselves.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

Men and women in this day have an insatiable desire to “learn” and experience many things. They are led away by a thousand calls to find happiness in the fulfillment of their desires. But even with all their searching, true and lasting happiness eludes them.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

A life dedicated to the fulfilling of our pleasure is a life of spiritual death.

But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. (1 Timothy 5:6)

While the world may call us crazy for living for God, we are to know ourselves as those that are alive from our dead hedonistic state and “trivial pursuits.” We no longer live for ourselves, but we now live for Christ, who died and rose again for us.

For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:13-15)

Every child of God must heed the directions of the Holy Spirit if they are to combat the return of an unhappy state.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:5,6)

In faithful covenant relationship with God there is life and peace. It is the gift of God to those who fear Him.

My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. (Malachi 2:5)

So much of our unhappiness is directly related to our failure to walk in the fear of the Lord which would have us hating and departing from evil.

What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalm 34:12-14)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.