The first record of unhappiness in the history of the world was also the first record of disobedience. Happiness is defined as being in harmony with life and circumstances, living in concord, and being at peace with self and surroundings. It is therefore natural for us to be unhappy when we violate the law of our very existence. Adam and Eve were the first but not the last to know the inward poverty of a torn conscience. We often think and say that their punishment was to be driven away from the tree of life and out of the Garden of Eden; yet, this was only the outward punishment for their sin. Inwardly they suffered “being Ashamed”, not because of what God had done to them, but because of what they had done to God. This has been the reason for unhappiness from the dawn of man’s earliest existence.
Is not this the exact case history of all men? Ask David when he was happy and when his rejoicing became bitterness. His Psalms tell us plainly that sin was the reason for his sorrow. Ask King Saul about the price we pay for envy and selfishness. See what Ahab has to say about sowing today and reaping tomorrow. Better still; ask yourself about the happiness you once enjoyed, and the reason for today’s unrest. You were not born with cares and worry nor was your childhood anxious and discontented. In those days your simple trusting faith in your parents to provide, protect, and forgive, kept away the worrisome effects of complex living. Thus happiness will return when obedience and faith return.
The poor honestly believe the would be happy with financial security. The sick are sure that happiness is in health. The aged are just as certain that joy and youth are bound together. While youth feels that happiness is in maturity and independence. Such thinking has always been erroneous. The wells of happiness spring from within, perhaps affected but never determined by circumstances and conditions.
Harmony in life and unity with God’s purpose is the only way to an abiding “peace which passeth understanding”.