Discontentment leads to misery
Discontentment leads to misery

Copyright ©02/01/2016 Elizabeth Ellis
Oh, Misery, Oh Misery
You are my temporal reality
Persisting in a never-ending wail
Of broken dreams and unrequited wrongs
Your drumbeat brings me down,
Into the depths of despair and anger
Where was justice when I needed him?
Yet as the tears flow
My wounded soul does know
Misery shall never be gone
And Hope shall soon depart
Unless Forgiveness takes the Throne
Of my wounded, angry heart
I reluctantly concede,
Yielding to her cleansing touch

The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines “Misery” (plural mis-er-ies) as:

  1. a state of suffering and want that is the result of poverty or affliction
  2. a circumstance, thing, or place that causes suffering or discomfort
  3. a state of great unhappiness and emotional distress

Misery is a natural response that needs to be dealt with quickly so it doesn’t escalate into a perpetual, deeply-rooted misery. Perpetual, deeply-rooted misery is often the consequence of the choices we make. How we choose to think and act when faced with difficult or painful life situations can determine whether we fall into a deep place of misery. At it’s root is a spiritual issue. An example of misery can be seen in Numbers 11:4-6 (NIV):

…and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

As Christians we are called to confess and repent of anything that displeases God. Misery certainly is something to confess and repent of as we are called in Phil 4:4 (NIV) to:  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   Here are seven examples of attitudes that will ensure perpetual, deeply-rooted misery (based on the article, “Spiritual Misery” by Eric Davis):

1. We increase our misery when we allow ourselves to dwell on how we have received less than what we deserve. While thinking about the “raw deal” we have received, we make it worse when we seek worldly comforts rather than go before the throne of God.

2. We increase our misery when we allows ourselves to think that the past was so much better than the present.

3. We suffer relational misery with God and other believers, when we have an attitude that only serves God and others based on what they have done for our life. This is often a result of not having an attitude of glorifying God in everything we do.

4. We become self-righteous and reap misery when we think how little others seem to be doing compared to us. This attitude often leads to grumbling and complaining about others. It can also quickly compound into a pulling away from serving in the church as well as helping our brothers and sisters in Christ because we feel others are not pulling their weight.

5. We reap a misery of unthankfulness and bitterness when we have an attitude that believes that most people have it easier and better than we do.

6. We will certainly experience misery, when we deprive ourselves of time with God in prayer and deny ourselves the spiritual nourishment that comes through reading and meditating on God’s word. WHY? Because we will be unprepared to handle the attacks of the enemy of our souls as well as the unexpected trials of life.

7. A sure way to boost your misery is to distance yourself from your church and others when things get really hard and discouraging in life. It is like a soldier out in combat who concludes that, because the battle is taxing and wearying, he shouldn’t take time to drink water and eat food.

In conclusion, the most hazardous times to pull back from God and your local church is when you feel hurt by someone in your church, have normal relationship battles, or feel spiritually too tired to go. Resting, being rejuvenated and having a much needed break may seem like a good idea but it can lead to spiritual misery due to the lack of fellowship with other believers and God’s truth (food for our spiritual growth).

Misery’s solution is the suffering Saviour and his cross. Because of the world, our sinful flesh, and the devil, our misery will likely escalate from time to time. But by God’s grace, we can be purged of the idolatry that lies behind misery. Repent and be free in Christ!

1 Timothy 3:6-7 (NIV) states:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

In Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV), Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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