I think we’ve all felt this emotion at some point in our lives. Many of us experience sadness for different reasons. Someone may feel sad because they lost an opportunity, while another person may feel sad because of unmet expectations. The list can go on and on in regards to the things that we often feel sad about in life. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I handle my very own moments of sadness as a believer. When I first came to know Jesus, whenever I felt sad, I never confided in anyone about how I felt, especially God. I never felt free enough to express my sadness, because, truthfully, I felt ashamed. How can I let someone else know that I am struggling with sadness, when God calls me to rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4)? How can I feel free enough to express my sadness to God when His Word says that the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)? These are the sort of questions that I often pondered in my moments of sadness. Whenever the feeling came, I did my best to tuck it away in the trenches of my heart, never to be acknowledged. As I grew in my walk with God however, I quickly learned that I was wrong. I learned that sadness is not an emotion to be ignored or pushed away; it is an emotion that we should acknowledge and take to God. I find that in the moments when I express my sadness to God, I not only find the peace that I desire, but He always reveals and reminds me of His truth in the midst of it. I have learned, and I am still learning, that there is an intimacy that is developed the more you welcome God into your broken places.
A few days ago, I felt really sad. There were circumstances in my life that made me feel very disappointed, and this disappointment led to sadness. I remember sitting on the floor of my room, and allowing the tears to flow. I felt tired and broken. In the moment, I remember opening my Bible and reading the Psalms. Through my tears, I poured over the cries and the petitions of the Psalmists, and in the midst of reading, I made my own petitions to God. As I prayed, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that my sadness and my tears doesn’t offend Him. He reminded me that letting Him know that I feel sad in no way takes away from who I am to Him or how He views me. My sadness isn’t a reflection of my lack of faith, it is an emotion that I am sometimes subject to as a human. Psalm 34:18 (NIV) says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” I love this verse because it reminds me that God isn’t looking down from heaven shaking His head in disapproval when we are sad. His word says that He is close to us. If He never expected us to feel emotions like sadness, then why would He promise to be close to the brokenhearted or save those crushed in spirit? One of my favorite authors writes, “Part of really living is being willing to face sadness. Not wallowing in my pain and refusing to be comforted, but honestly and openly telling God where I am and asking him to show me truth.” (Quote from, "The Scars that Have Shaped Me" by Vaneetha Rendall Risner) I resonate with this quote so much, because I believe that it is an accurate picture of how we should handle the sadness that we feel. We should be honest and open about telling God how we feel, and most importantly, we should allow Him to show us truth in the midst of the sadness.
I pray that if you feel sad today, you’re reminded that God isn’t offended by it. He invites you to acknowledge the sadness that you feel and bring it to Him. He wants you to welcome Him into your broken places, not try to hide them from Him. In His presence is the peace and the joy that you need. One of the things I love about Jesus is that He allows us to feel. He allows me to feel. I wish I could share with you all of the moments when I cried out to Jesus in my sadness and He comforted me, embraced me, and reminded me that weeping may endure for the night, but joy is coming (Psalm 30:5). If you’re wrestling with sadness, I want to leave with the truth of Psalm 34:18 with you: God is close to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit. Welcome Jesus into your sad place, and allow Him to envelop you in His presence and save you, like He promised.