There is a difference in feeling happy and feeling a deep sense of spiritual contentment. They can run concurrently but they are not the same. Happiness is mostly a result of favorable circumstances or the positive experiences we have with people. Deep seated spiritual contentment is only experienced when we are in right relationship with God. There are many imitations and false narratives that promise spiritual contentment that dismiss or deemphasize our relationship with
God. In which over time they leave us empty yet we may have thought they were true at one time. Abiding spiritual contentment is rooted in our relationship with God.
Happiness is not the ultimate goal for the People of Faith. Deep spiritual contentment is our highest goal. Faith driven people in the Scriptures were happy yet they were unhappy at times. But they were always seeking and attaining spiritually contentment that comes from God alone. Patriarchs like Abraham, Jacob and Joseph all had familial challenges. We might say they had dysfunctional families. Job lost all he had in life. Although his life was renewed, he still suffered distress and disappointment. David had many troubles; he was hunted by Saul and exiled for about 10 years. He failed morally, exercised poor judgment, and momentarily distrusted God by numbering Israel. David’s missteps had their own unhappy repercussions. Daniel was thrown into a lions den. Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale. Not a happy time for Daniel and Jonah. Jesus came unto His own and His own received him not. The ultimate emotional assault was the cross.
All of these biblical heroes of faith and others too numerous to mention experienced some earthly happiness, yet they were convinced that their ultimate goal was spiritual contentment as a result of being in right relationship with God. Unlike many who count spiritual contentment that comes from God the lesser of earthly happiness, who are continually subject to outside forces that sap their happiness with little or nothing left.
For even when the unhappy times overwhelm the People of faith their spiritual contentment and inward tranquility cannot be quenched because they trust God with their future. It is not unusual for the People of Faith, that when their best efforts fall short of their expectations that the unhappiness they feel is accompanied with a a deep sense of spiritual contentment. For God has a peculiar purpose for them; when they are unhappy at anytime and for any reason, they are more fully awakened to the vanities and false promises of a fallen world. And once again enlivened to the heavenly blessings that are promised, inward or otherwise, when they put their trust in Him. Although they may have an imperfect trust, they know that God will hear their prayers and restore them fully or guide them into another path in which earthly happiness and spiritual contentment have the best chance to live concurrently; until the next time they face adversity in which spiritual contentment will, once again, trump their earthly happiness.