April 06, 2005

One great secret of unhappiness by J. C. Ryle

Let us learn not to be surprised or fret when trials come. It is a wise saying of Job, "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward." (Job 5:7). Some, no doubt, have a larger cup of sorrows to drink than others. But few live long without troubles or cares of some kind. The greater our affections--the deeper are our afflictions. The more we love--the more we have to weep.

The only certain thing to be predicted about the babe lying in his cradle is this--if he grows up, he will have many troubles, and at last he will die.

Let us learn not to expect too much from anybody or anything in this fallen world. One great secret of unhappiness is the habit of indulging in exaggerated expectations.

From money,
from marriage,
from business,
from houses,
from children,
from worldly honors,
from political success--
people are constantly expecting what they never find--and the great majority die disappointed.

Selfish feeding on our own troubles, and continual poring over our sorrows--are one secret of the melancholy misery in which many spend their lives.

Let us never give way to a fretting, murmuring, complaining spirit. Let us firmly believe at the worst of times--that every step in our lives is ordered by the Lord, with perfect wisdom and perfect love, and that we shall see it all at last. By J.C. Ryle