I never met anyone who wanted to be sad, sick, and sorrowful. We as human beings might be able to adjust ourselves to a certain kind of pain at times, but no one longs to be unhappy continuously. No, we all want to enjoy our life! Well, but that is exactly our problem since God created us to be happy eternally in His presence, yet we have fallen short of obeying Him and thus have had to face several consequences of sin, one of which is temporal unhappiness. We know that it was Jesus’ atonement and God’s grace that opened the way back into His presence through our Lord, who has become our personal way to an abundant spiritual life. But knowing about it and living to see it are two very different animals. 😉
Even in the Old Testament we can learn from King David what kind of behavior might enable us and what false steps might hinder us to enjoy our life on earth. David said,
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Ps 34:4-19 ESV)
Although in New Covenantal times we need to endure the cross and die to self, that does not mean that God wants to see us suffering all the time. Basically, He is a God of love who wants to share ALL His blessings with us as soon as we have learned to appreciate and share them with others. The old man, instead, has the fatal tendency to misuse God’s good gifts primarily for himself. So, in order to spread His blessings through His people God must change us egotists into new heavenly beings who rather look to Him and others than merely to their own well-being.
Here are some thoughts on this very issue, taken from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Ps. 34:11-22.
34:11-22 Let young persons set out in life with learning the fear of the Lord, if they desire true comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter. Those will be most happy who begin the soonest to serve so good a Master. All aim to be happy. Surely this must look further than the present world; for man’s life on earth consists but of few days, and those full of trouble. What man is he that would see the good of that where all bliss is perfect? Alas! few have this good in their thoughts. That religion promises best which creates watchfulness over the heart and over the tongue. It is not enough not to do hurt, we must study to be useful, and to live to some purpose; we must seek peace and pursue it; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal for peace’ sake. It is the constant practice of real believers, when in distress, to cry unto God, and it is their constant comfort that he hears them. The righteous are humbled for sin, and are low in their own eyes. Nothing is more needful to true godliness than a contrite heart, broken off from every self-confidence. In this soil every grace will flourish, and nothing can encourage such a one but the free, rich grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The righteous are taken under the special protection of the Lord, yet they have their share of crosses in this world, and there are those that hate them. Both from the mercy of Heaven, and the malice of hell, the afflictions of the righteous must be many. But whatever troubles befall them, shall not hurt their souls, for God keeps them from sinning in troubles. No man is desolate, but he whom God has forsaken.