September 8, 2020 | By Jay Ashbauacher
One of the saddest things in the world is to see the unhappiness of people. It happens because of love going out of their lives, or love never being in their lives. Without love, happiness cannot be experienced, at least, not for any great length of time. Many have witnessed the spark in the lives of men and women who have fallen in love. It’s as if they are floating on air, soaring upward into the blissfulness of ecstasy, or with a spring in their step, with a happy smile on their faces and in their hearts. Everything in their world is forever wonderful. Oh, to love and be loved; the happiness and joy we feel are unbeatable.
Too often, love does not last. It’s because of the sinfulness in our world and in our souls. It’s the inability of each of us to be perfect. We hurt others, and we feel hurt by others. When that happens, we become unhappy. And when we are unhappy, we make room for ugly things to enter our hearts, things like resentments, anger, and bitterness. These ugly things can come out of us, aimed at people around us, often at the people who hurt us, often at innocent people who have to suffer our angry attacks, and often at people we love, or want to love.
One of my favorite poems is by Gerhard E. Frost. It’s called “Travelers”. It’s about a 2-year-old and an 82-year-old traveler. Here it is—
“Hi World, I’m two; How old are you? Are you new too? Want to play, world, just me and you? You hide, I’ll seek; I’ll taste and smell, look and touch, and listen. I want the feel of you. I like the world—you like me too? It’s fun being two and friends with you.”
“Goodbye, world, I’m eighty-two; It’s been nice, knowing you. But I’m leaving; I’m old, you see, and yet God makes me new as well as you. I’m sorry I hurt you, world, but you hurt me too. Let’s play, like we used to do, a quiet game, just right for eighty-two: I forgive, and so do you.”
How do we find a love that never fails, and its resulting happiness? Fortunately, we were all created by a God who loves us perfectly, and if that God becomes the most important person in our lives, it can revive our hearts, make us happy, spill out into the world around us, and reach the hearts of people we meet. Receiving his love daily and walking in the power of his Spirit will make us bearers of love and kindness toward others. We can give them an experience of happiness, if only for a moment. God wants to give us that and wants us to give it to others (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiveness is the path to travel if we want to find our way back from brokenness, to love and happiness.
This brings us back to where we started, to one of the saddest things in the world – the unhappiness of people. Few are those who find happiness because one has to know the source, be open to wanting it, and receive it. The God of love is sad and grieved in his heart when we refuse to open up to him and receive his love and mercy. Many are those who become stuck in their resentment, anger, and bitterness. How sad is that, to reject the very love we crave, and to remain forever unhappy? But thanks be to God who gives us hope, who loves us still and always keeps the door open. Jesus said, “I am the door” (John 10:9). Whenever, if ever, we decide to enter and stay, we will discover what a difference it makes to be loved by Jesus. As we keep growing in a relationship with him, it will increasingly, unfailingly, and faithfully, lead to contentment, happiness, and a fulfilled life (John 10:10).