The Happiness You’re Searching For…
It’s a frustrating feeling when you know you should be thankful for all that God has done for you, but you don’t feel satisfied. You recognize God has given you a family, an income and even health. While you have all of these to enjoy, there still seems to be something missing…something lacking in your life.
I am acquainted with those feelings. I know well the guilt they can bring to a heart, even a heart that loves the Lord. There was a season of my life where I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do, but I felt so empty. Sure, I loved God. I was serving God to the best of ability, but I couldn’t shake the dissatisfaction I felt deep in my heart.
For me, it all culminated on an airplane across the Pacific Ocean in 2005. I had went to Vietnam to smuggle Bibles to believers with a friend. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Coming home, I should have felt satisfied by such an exciting opportunity from the Lord, but I didn’t. I felt that I had to begin planning my next thing.
My heart was flooding with emotions. I would feel a wave of dissatisfaction and then a wave of guilt. I could feel Satan saying, “God is angry with you. He gave you an opportunity of a life time and you’re still not happy. You’re still longing for something more. You have made God so mad at you because YOU WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED.” It’s as if he was screaming this at my soul. Isn’t he the “accuser of the brethren”? (Rev. 12:10) and the “Father of lies”? (John 8:44).
But in that moment I believed his lie. I was vulnerable and he attacked. When I got home, I felt depressed and defeated.
Not long after this experience the Lord began to take me on a wonderful journey. It took a while for me to learn the beautiful truths of Psalms 16:11. It didn’t come overnight, but through this process, the Lord began to teach me why I felt empty. He led me on a path of discovering joy like I had never known.
I want to share some of the truths the Lord taught me from Psalms 16 in hopes that it may encourage you and help you discover the path of life, the joy of His presence and the deep pleasures God has planned for you.
The path of life (You make known to me the path of life) v. 16a
What an important phrase, “you make known to me the path of life.” I find it interesting that it is God who “makes known” to us His path. This is not something you can discover on your own. So how does God show us the path of life? The answer is by seeking the Lord. Isn’t that easier said than done? I don’t think that seeking the Lord means attending church or saying a prayer that God will bless you and help you. I think “seeking the Lord” means to spend quality time in prayer communicating with the Lord about your life and His plans for you.
How we seek the Lord
Do feel the Lord is too busy for you? Are you afraid that your efforts will be in vain because God isn’t concerned about your life? Scripture will change your perspective. Listen to the promise of Proverbs 8:17, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” What a promise!
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25. How often do you set aside time just to be with the Lord? Do you turn everything off, get away and worship and fellowship with the God? If not, it may be that the Lord is waiting for you to begin to seek Him.
Jeremiah 33:3 encourages us to call upon the Lord. “Call to me and I will answer you…” Do you think you can call just anyone and speak with them? Probably not. Try calling the White House and see if you can speak with the President. Try calling a famous athlete or even the CEO of a big corporation. You most likely will not get past their assistant. However, you and I can pray to the King of kings, the Creator of Heaven and earth, the Lord of lords at any moment. Isn’t that incredible?
Jeremiah 33:3 goes on to say, “Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and hidden things that you have not known.” I know you have been in situations where you didn’t know what to do. Maybe you’re facing one of those now. There is a promise here for you! Call to the Lord and He will show you the “hidden things.” He will guide you and direct you! “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalms 37:23. This is how we “seek the Lord” in our lives.
Ponder the Path you’re on
If you continued walking the path you’re on right now for the next 5 years, will it lead to where you want to be in life? Will your health be better by the decisions you’re making today? Will you be more secure financially? Will your children or grandchildren mature in a way that they become the person you would like them to be?
Proverbs 4:22 tells us, “Ponder the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.” A great question to ask ourselves is this, are we following the Lord or following our own agenda and ambitions in life? Take some time to sit and ponder the path of your feet and see if they are walking on the “Path of life.”
The Pleasures of God (In your presence there is fullness of Joy) v. 16b
Some people have the wrong view of God. They think God is mad at everyone and everything. Yet the Bible teaches us a great deal about God and Joy! Psalms 16:11 is quick to remind us that in God’s presence there is “fullness of joy.”
John Piper said it best, “Pleasure is not God’s competitor, idols are.” It’s when we try to find our pleasure and deepest satisfaction in things other than God. Have you ever experienced the power of water to quench your thirst? I know for me, when I am extremely thirsty I cannot drink anything other than water. Anything else just makes me thirstier. But water has the power to quench our thirsts!
Is it any wonder the Bible describes God as “Living Water”? It is because He alone can quench the thirsting’s of our lives. Listen to John 7:37, “On the last day of the feast, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.’”
I know there have been times in my life I have been so thirsty. I tried drinking from the cup of ambition and all it did was make me thirstier. I tried finding satisfaction in relationships or in success, but all it did was leave me wanting more. It wasn’t until I began to drink from the cup of Christ that I found the satisfaction my soul was craving.
Apart from Christ, we cannot hold water. Read carefully Jeremiah 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and hewed out cisterns themselves, broken cistern that can hold no water.” Our hearts are not designed for anything more than Jesus Christ. God certainly gives us pleasures in life to enjoy, but there isn’t anything that quench the thirsting’s of your life a part from Christ!
However, once God has worked in our lives, then we can enjoy the thirst quenching power of the water of life. John 7:38 declared, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” And one day, in that Heavenly city, we will never thirst again! “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”Revelation 7:17.
The Presence of God (at your right hand are pleasures forevermore) v. 16c
You cannot experience His promises unless you are living in His presence.
So what does it mean to live in the presence of God? I think it means you are aware and conscience of God in your daily life. When you think of God’s presence, maybe you just think of church or maybe you think of a worship set or a concert. Do you ever think of God’s presence in your daily routine? Do you spend time with the Lord in the average, repetitive moments of life, like driving to work or eating lunch or while sending emails? Those are perfect opportunities to communicate with the Lord.
Fill my cup, Lord
At the lowest point of the season of life I described earlier after returning from Vietnam, the Lord used a simple song to break through my confusion. The words say, “Fill my cup, Lord. I lift it up Lord. Come and quench the thirsting’s of my soul. Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more. Here’s my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”
The Lord began to fill my heart. He quenched my thirsting’s! He fed me till I was satisfied. What an incredible work the Lord did in my life. He began to show me that I cannot find my true joy or happiness in my successes or in ambition. The Lord rescued me from trying to find satisfaction in a relationship or in accomplishments. I learned that God alone can satisfy my heart. I hope you will take the time to discover the depths of Psalms 16:11 in your own life. Drink deeply from the wells of God’s grace and enjoy the thirst quenching power of Jesus Christ in your soul.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee.” – St. Augustine