Q: Dear Pastor,
Why am I so unhappy? When I first got saved, I was so joyful.

A: Like marriage, which is a committed relationship between two unique people, our relationship with the Savior has ebbs and flows, too. (Notice, I said “relationship” and not “religion.”) Jesus does not change, but we do. When we first find God, our hearts are bursting with joy as our spirit is literally born again through his spirit. We experience a brand-new lens covering our eyes; we see differently. Much like being in love, we suddenly view the world in wonderment and beauty. God’s presence is everywhere! Some of us experience freedom for the first time in those blessed weeks or months after we accept salvation through Christ Jesus. Pastors call this the “honeymoon period” of salvation.

Then, life begins to unfold as Jesus walks with us down the road of our Christian journey. Eventually we arrive on the threshold of our proverbial closet full of junk. Or maybe two. Or maybe a whole house full. We begin to work with Christ to take out the trash and move into a new life of cleansing, healing and wholeness.

While Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), his approach to us is unique during each season of our lives. For example, we speak to our toddler differently then we speak to our teenager. Maturity of mind, will and emotions demands a different kind of parenting at each level of understanding. Father God is a perfect parent, so he speaks to us uniquely depending on what we need at the time and where we are in our development. You may be in a season of hard work. Perhaps God is partnering with you to grow up or clean up an area that, if left unchecked, will prevent you from reaching your destiny. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NASB). Maybe you are in a season of discipline and training because God knows what lies ahead and you must be equipped and ready to withstand a stormy sea. “My child; don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when he has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of his faithful love” (Hebrews 12:5, 6, TPT).

In a healthy relationship, things cannot be continually on high; always good and wonderful and perfect and full of joy. We must experience the valleys along with the mountain peaks in order to be balanced in life. And in order to appreciate the moments of peace, love and joy, we must have moments in opposite directions. What goes up must come down. It is the same in the spirit realm as it is in the natural.

That said, we have two important pieces of advice from people who encountered Jesus directly: 1) Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near (Philippians 4:4, 5, NASB). And 2) Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:2-4, MSG).

Don’t worry! Happiness will return to you. God hasn’t left you; he’s simply graduating you to a new level of relationship.

Adrienne Greene pastors two Christian churches in southeastern Indiana. Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Please send your inquiries to: heavenchasepub@gmail.com or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, Ohio 45030.