Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
We all base our happiness on something.
And, as light as it feels to be happy, that thing on which our happiness depends is under a tremendous weight. Let me explain. Whatever it is that we think will make us happy necessarily must bear the entire burden of our expectations and emotional needs. In other words, we need that thing (or person) to fill us up, to make us feel joy. But, this is something no earthly person or thing is capable of doing fully and always. Let me give you an example.
I’m prone to place my happiness in my spouse, Jason. He’s a nice man, even a good one. I find him funny and engaging, tender and generally thoughtful. Except, when he isn’t. You see, he is just a person. And, he has his bad days, stress, irritating habits, and a tendency towards irrational hanger (I do mean hanger, the hungry-anger that tends to emerge right before meals). Jason’s just a normal guy, one that I happen to love and share my life with on the daily. But, when all of my happiness is centered on him, when I’m looking for him to meet those enormous, constant, emotional needs, it actually makes us both UNhappy. My happiness requirements become a burden on our marriage that he could never bear.
But, we all tend to do this, don’t we? We put our happiness on our kids, or our success, or our friends, or our pleasure, or some new thing that we really want. But, time and again, those people and things come up short of making and keeping us happy. The weight of our expectations and emotional needs end up crushing the person or thing we place them on. They can never do enough to make us happy all the time. Why? Our appetite for happiness is unquenchable. And, even when they do make us happy for a while, they can’t sustain our constant demand for more.
Which brings us to the crux. It’s not that we need to be satisfied with less (as if we could be). We need, instead, to fill our unquenchable happiness appetite with an unending source. Our bottomless cup can only be full when we are being filled with something or Someone who will never run out. Therefore, our truest joy, our absolute happiness and satisfaction must be found in Jesus. He alone can bear the tremendous weight of our joy burden. He alone is boundless. As our verse reminds us, his love is unfailing. It’s this kind of God, this kind of love that alone can meet our happiness deficiency. And, here's the best part: when our hearts are full in him, we are free to love people without unrealistic expectations for them to make us happy.
Are you finding your joy in Jesus, or are you looking to alternatives to fill you up?
What would your close relationships look like if you came to them already happy instead of relying on them to make you happy?