The Unhappiness Cure

Michael Beck

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To be depressed is to be in the grip of a profound, chronic unhappiness.

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. (Proverbs 15:13)

There is a deep sorrow connected to what we want in this world being out of our reach.

And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?
And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard. (1 Kings 21:1-6)

To be unhappy is to be in a place of pain. Unhappiness looks for a way to stop feeling unhappy. Often it sells on a wrong “cure.”

And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. (1 Kings 21:1-7)

Ahab and Jezebel were idol-worshippers. They also wanted what belonged to their neighbor, and disobedient to God’s command.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Exodus 20:17)

The covetous person pins their happiness on having more of one thing or another in the world. When any one desire becomes all-consuming, it becomes an idol in the heart which one will bow down to, serve, and sacrifice for.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. (Colossians 3:5-7)

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour (Titus 3:1-6)

Once we have become born-again, Christ is to be our ALL – to fully “gain” Him is to be the chief aim of our life.

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor
Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11)

What is God’s ultimate objective? Where is He taking His redeemed new creation? To the place where He is “all in all” of them.

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:28)

When Christ became Paul’s all, when for him to live was Christ, he was willing to discard all else he once pursued in this world.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Paul did not deem his new pursuit as especially his; but one which every believer was called to.

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Philippians 3:115)

Believers are called to be “without covetousness.” The covetous are unhappy with their present state because God is not their all.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5,6)

The Lord’s people are His beloved; but He desires to be their beloved, who acknowledge Him as better than anything or anyone else in the world.

And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now. (Hosea 2:7)

God will let us “run to the end of our highway” and still not find what we’re looking for. And when we’re still empty and unhappy, He will open a “door of hope” to us.

Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. (Hosea 2:14-17)

Ishi, my husband, is an appellation of love; Baali, my lord, of subjection and fear.

The Lord wanted no confusion or comparison between Him and the idols the people were serving and bowing down to. Whereas they had to carry their idols of wood and stone; He declared that He would carry them from the womb to their old age.

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? (Isaiah 46:3-5)

Our happiness is not to revolve around our circumstances, it is to revolve around the Lord’s presence in our lives. He always has godliness for us to gain, especially in seasons of want.

Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. (Psalm 144:15)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

Being brought up and out of a pit of depression is possible when we turn to the Lord and repent of our worldly sorrow which is evil, damaging, and deadly, and find godly sorrow which is good, healthy, and life-producing.

I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:1-3)

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:9,10)

When the things which would make us naturally happy are far from us (i.e., we are on the hill Mizar), and the enemy would plague us with thoughts of what we don’t have, we can turn to the Lord and find hope and happiness in Him.

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
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 42:1-11)

Despite what bad is happening, or what good is not happening, if our relationship with God will be our chief joy, we can have everlasting happiness.

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)


I’m happy in Jesus
I’m happy to be
Alive in His presence
Forgiven and free
What more could He give me
Than life without end
I’m happy with Jesus
Each moment to spend

I’m happy in Jesus
He lights up my day
I’m happy in Jesus
He brightens my way
Each morning, each evening
He shines as my Light
I’m happy in Jesus
All day and all night

I’m happy in Jesus
My future looks bright
He’s promised me heaven
And all earth made right
My life is in His hands
I’ve nothing to fear
I’m happy in Jesus
I’m filled with good cheer

I’m happy in Jesus
O let come what may
In winter and summer
In autumn and spring
I’m happy in Jesus
And that’s why I sing

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.