I watch people.
I have been for decades.
One reason I watch people is because I think people are fascinating.
They can & will be & do the strangest things.
If we watch people long enough, they will tell us &/or show us who & what they are.
In the last few years, say 6 to 8 years, or maybe more, I've started to notice something.
People are just not very happy.
Last night, Lynn & I were eating at a local restaurant.
And I was watching people come & go – they do a big, brisk carry out business.
After watching them for a few minutes, watching their behavior, watching what they said, how they said it, how they carried themselves, the look on their faces, I was struck by a strong sense of how unhappy they seemed.
I'm not talking about angry (although some seemed to be).
I'm talking about how they seemed to just be unhappy.
It was as if their life was a burden they carried – a heavy burden.
And I wondered why each one seemed so unhappy, where that heaviness comes from.
People don't just wake up one morning & say to themselves, “I'm going to be unhappy today - & for a long time or for the rest of my life.”
I think this unhappiness just settles into their lives – it's like they feel that life isn't the way they want it to be or wish it to be.
I wish I knew where this overarching sense of the unhappiness of people around me comes from.
I wish I could put my finger on it.
It's just there, & seems to be more & more evident as time goes by.
It's just a condition I've seen grow over the last decade.
I don't have any answers for this situation because I don't know its cause.
I offer some verses from John 14 to everyone who seems to be basically unhappy.
I'm not offering “pie in the sky, by & by.”
I'm just sharing some words Jesus said to his disciples the night before He died.
I don't think He was mincing words that night.
He knew what was ahead, what they'd do & not do, & what they'd feel as a result.
Maybe these words can help people whose lives are ones that are out of sync, troubled, &/or unhappy.
1 "Don't let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God,
and trust also in me.
2 There is more than enough room in my Father's home.
If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you,
so that you will always be with me where I am.
4 And you know the way to where I am going."
5 "No, we don't know, Lord," Thomas said. "We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
6 Jesus told him,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.
7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.
From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"
8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."
9 Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am?
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!
So why are you asking me to show him to you?
12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done,
and even greater works,
because I am going to be with the Father.
13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it,
so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.
14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
15 "If you love me, obey my commandments.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.
17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.
The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him.
But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.
19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me.
Since I live, you also will live.
20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father,
and you are in me,
and I am in you.
21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.
And because they love me, my Father will love them.
And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them."
23 Jesus replied, "All who love me will do what I say.
My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.
24 Anyone who doesn't love me will not obey me.
And remember, my words are not my own.
What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.
25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.
26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
27 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don't be troubled or afraid.