Can Jesus Overcome Our Unhappiness?

William C. Brownson

READ : James 5:13-20

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. (v. 13)

QUESTION: Can Jesus overcome our unhappiness? (from England)

God gave us his Son to die for us, so we may be forgiven and reconciled to him. He sent his Holy Spirit to assure us of his love and give us strength. Nothing can separate us
from his love and one day he will wipe away all our tears.

But sometimes, in spite of all that, we’re unhappy. How can we be so miserable when God has done so much for us? Physical factors may contribute to our depression: illness, fatigue, chemical imbalance. We may be grieving or holding onto resentment. We may have had traumas that make it hard for us to feel good about ourselves.

Jesus may work to help us overcome our unhappiness through counselors and therapists, caring friends, exercise and vacations, various forms of medication, and through the prayers of those who suffer right along with us.

But there is a sense in which Jesus will not “overcome” our unhappiness. He probably will not simply take it away. When the psalmist was discouraged, he didn’t ask God to make him happy again. He challenged his own heart, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, why are you disquieted within me?” He tried to get in touch with what was getting him down. Then he roused himself: “Hope in God for I shall again praise him.” He called himself to action, to put his trust afresh in the Lord.

PRAYER

In times of happiness and sadness, may we turn to you.