embracing sadness.

Sometimes I get in these moods where I am just thinking a lot.

Just so much thinking.

I think it really happens when something especially sad happens so then all the other things I’ve been repressing being sad about or even angry about, or as I like to think of it “the things I am just being strong about”, all start to try to process in my brain at the same time.

I don’t know why I try to hide my sadness. I guess I do want to be strong even though I know I am so very weak and God so kindly gives me strength. I just don’t want to feel like I am immersed in sadness all the time, because God has given me so many reasons to be joyful and filled with hope.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

James 1:2-3

Like this verse from James, when I face trials I want to face them with joy and trust in the Lord that no matter what I face He will be with me, doing a good work in me through that experience.

When I look at all the awful I’ve been through and situations that could have been so much worse, I am reminded of how much God has saved me from and the ways He’s redeemed my story. Yet even though those things are filled with joy and thankfulness to God and how He has changed me and my situations to be good, there is still a lining of sadness that covers so much of my experiences.

Do you feel that way? Maybe it’s just me, but everything is seen through two lenses for me. First there’s the lens of gratitude and joy for what’s been gained, and then second there’s the lens of sadness and grief for what’s been lost.

Those two things don’t feel like they should be able to coexist, but they do.

Sometimes I get upset with God, because I think that He is the one who’s making me try to be joyful all the time, repressing my true feelings. But this morning as I finally just let myself really cry as I talked to God, I had a revelation. My own strength equals hiding my feelings, which leads to hiding myself because I end up closing the door to being vulnerable with people as well as myself. God’s strength equals having the freedom to be real, and recognizing that this world is filled with sorrow, but we can still have joy when we’re sad.

This verse from 2 Corinthians really captures what I am trying to say:

“Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. “

2 Corinthians 6:10

Life is filled with disappointment, grief, and deep sorrow, but God says that though we have sorrow now, one day when He returns we will have a joy that can’t be taken from us. If you don’t believe me check out this verse from John. The Word of God is always relevant and is a fountain of life and peace for our weary souls.

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

John 16:22

I also really relate to this verse from Ecclesiastes. Honestly I relate to a lot of Ecclesiastes. When I read this book though it’s depressing, it encourages me that the way I often feel deep inside is a normal human experience. I have a pretty idealistic, mostly trusting personality, so I am extremely uncomfortable with the more cynical side of my character.

Well, just read this verse and then I’ll explain a bit more…

“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.”

Ecclesiastes 1:18

The more understanding I have of life and the world and I guess just every dose of reality that I get a grasp of, the more sorrow seeps inside me.

A lot about this world sucks. It really does and good heckin gosh I cannot wait for Jesus to come back and for there to be a new Heaven and new Earth. My finite mind cannot even begin to fathom what that will look like, but I can be certain that it’s a place where there will be no sadness. There will only be love, hope, peace, kindness, and everything that is good. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? So if you think about it, maybe when we mourn deep down we know that what’s happening shouldn’t be happening because it’s not what God intended for His creation, and so we grieve for the Kingdom that was lost, while we also rejoice in expectation for the Kingdom to come.

Then while we wait, as image bearers of Christ we are apart of bringing part of the kingdom to this Earth, because Christ says that we are not of this world.

In the meantime we also don’t need to hide this sadness that we feel sometimes or maybe even feel all the time. We need to share it first with God and then second with the believers that are placed in our lives to support us and encourage us in our faith.

I’ll leave you with this encouragement,

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8