Yesterday morning, I found myself just sad. It’s been a tough six weeks, and for whatever reason yesterday was when the dam broke and my tears flowed. In the midst of my sadness, as I was kneeling and praying, it was as if I had laid my head in God’s lap and he was just comforting me as a father loves his children.
As the day led to more sadness — I received two “thank you, but we’re not selecting you” emails from companies with which I’d been interviewing — I found myself questioning sadness. Does being a Christian and trusting God mean that we can’t be sad? Is it wrong to be overcome by this emotion?
I think of many examples in the Bible where prophets and others cite the need to turn and repent, to be righteous, to trust, to allow God to heal and breathe new life into us. For a suffering person, no matter the reason, this is not comfort. This is smacking one on the head in the midst of pain and anguish.
Then, we look at Jesus. He cried over the loss of Lazarus. He went away by himself to mourn the death of John the Baptist (before showing compassion on the crowds that didn’t allow him that time to mourn). He poured out his anguish to God before the cross. Yes, despite knowing first-hand that God would prevail and the outcome, Jesus had his moments of sadness and a need for personal healing.
We also see how others expressed their sorrows, no matter the reason. Job poured out his heart. David used the psalms to express his anguish. The prophets cried over the situations facing their beloved country and people. Martha mourned her brother’s death. The apostles shared tears for a number of reasons. Did God ever say, “just get over it and trust that I have the victory”? No.
It is natural to have times of sorrow, sadness and mourning. (Note: Mourning is not solely for death; it means to feel or express sorrow or grief.) It’s okay to pour out that sorrow before God. We know that God allows us time for sadness, and he also will comfort us — it’s stated repeatedly in scripture. Jesus even taught it in the sermon on the mount: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4).
Think of it this way. If you break a bone and need to have it fixed, sometimes the surgeon has to break it again to enable healing. In the same way, we sometimes need to reach that point of deep sadness so that healing can commence. God will help us pick up the pieces and make us whole again.
Sometimes sadness lasts for a day and is gone when a new day breaks. Sometimes it lasts for years. The key for moving forward is hope in our loving God to carry our burdens and move us from the place we’re in. Our dear loved ones can remind us of that hope.
While God is working on my heart and self-worth, I also am surrounded by those who love me and are helping me through this healing process. People who let me know they’re praying for me. People who ask how I’m doing (even though sometimes it hurts to respond, I at least know you care). People who are amazing encouragers and can lift the spirit with kind words. A hug full of warmth that allows a person to just be held. Oh, how I encourage you to do what you do best to serve as someone’s #2 (see Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Just as I started yesterday in God’s embrace, I ended the day with another someone who held me in his embrace (my #2!). At one point early on in this life adventure, I told my husband that what I really needed was for him just to hold me when I was sad. And last night, in the midst of my sadness, he did just that. He held me tight, even as we slept. Through that quiet, strong support, he — following the example of God our tender, loving father — breathed his love into me. I knew I was held, loved, and not alone.
And today is a new day.