You may not have noticed, but there's a lot of unhappy people in the world. A lot. Yet they claim to be happy. So many people claiming to be happy, and complaining all the time, they complain at the grocery store (or dollar general, or Walmart) when you run in to them (or walk by them), they complain online, and in line, and everywhere else for that matter! If folks were so happy with their choices, why on earth would they complain, all the time? The truth is, happiness is a temporary condition. It's not something that can stay. It's like cake; I'm happy when I'm eating cake, and then immediately after, I'm unhappy because I just consumed all of that sugar! Happiness is based on circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is based on a person. There is only one source of pure, unending joy, and that is Jesus. It's not merely choosing to follow Jesus, but to be like Jesus, to utterly completely and always depend on Jesus for everything. That's the only way in which we can have that joy and peace that doesn't make sense (surpasses understanding). It's why in the worst of places, where torture, arrests, and persecutions abound for Christians, there is usually great joy. It doesn't make sense to the world, but Jesus is there in the midst, and so there is joy. When the world promises you happiness, choose Jesus instead. When there's pain, choose Jesus! And when it doesn't make sense, choose Jesus anyway! Jesus is our source of life and light, He will get us home in the end.
Psalm 31 English Standard Version (ESV)
Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
31 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! 2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; 4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
6 I hate[a] those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord. 7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, 8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! 16 Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
17 O Lord, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol. 18 Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! 20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. 22 I had said in my alarm,[b] “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.
23 Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
a. Psalm 31:6 Masoretic Text; one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome You hate
b. Psalm 31:22 Or in my haste