Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions. (Airing daily on Hope 103.2 and Inspire Digital at 9am)
Do you sometimes feel sad? If so, you’re quite normal because the emotion of sadness is a reality for almost everyone. It’s natural to feel sad or dejected in times of trouble or distress, especially if you receive disappointing news or some event in your life turns nasty.
Sadness—it’s not something everyone talks about, or wants to acknowledge, but it usually shows in your face and your appearance. You get asked, What’s up? or What’s the matter? You may be hurt over a critical comment or you feel bad over something you said when you shouldn’t—but sadness is part of life for each of us. It has a certain stigma attached to it, as if you shouldn’t get that way.
The Australian psychologist and social researcher Hugh Mackay has written about sadness, and he says that we live in a society that has become scared of sadness, as if it will lead to something awful like depression. It doesn’t always do that—and he says that to be fully human means to sometimes be engulfed by waves of sadness, despair, doubt, or disappointment. Sadness is just as authentic an emotion as happiness.
From Sadness to Comfort
But remember sadness, from whatever source it comes from, can threaten to rob us of the tangible joy of present-day life. To be constantly sad is a concern and can lead to depression. Charles Dickens wrote these words: “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.”
Arthur Gordon once said: “No one lives on the top of the mountain. It’s fine to go there occasionally—for inspiration, for new perspectives. But you have to come down. Life is lived in the valleys. That’s where the farms and gardens and orchards are, and where the ploughing and the work is done. That’s where you apply the visions you may have glimpsed from the peaks.”
So, there is no surprise that we will have sad days in life. Sadness is a feeling—it’s one of the many normal human emotions, or moods, we all have. Sadness is the emotion people feel when they’ve lost something important, or when they have been disappointed about something, or when something sad has happened to them or to someone else. When they’re lonely, people often feel sad.
When you’re sad, the world may seem dark and unfriendly. You might feel like you have nothing to look forward to. The hurt deep inside may crush your usually good mood. Sadness makes you feel like crying, and sometimes the tears are hard to stop. Crying often makes you feel better.
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Sometimes when your mood is sad, you just feel like being alone for a little while. Or you might want someone to comfort you or just keep you company while you go through the sad feeling. Talking about what has made you sad usually helps the sad feeling melt away. And when the sadness starts to go away, it can feel like a heavy blanket is being lifted from your shoulders.
God is the God of Comfort
The Bible tells us that God is the God of comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 says: “Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort”. You can rely on a loving God who knows when you’re sad, as David the Psalmist also knew in Psalm 13—read it sometime. He was in a desperate situation running away from a jealous King Saul. Saul had 3,000 of his best soldiers hunting David down. And David wrote, “How much longer, Lord, will You forget about me? How long must I be confused and miserable all day? Please listen dear Lord, and answer my prayers…I trust your love” (verses 1-3,5).
Then in Psalm 42 we have these sad words: “Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God” (verse 11). A poet expresses it in these words:
I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the God of all comfort was with me
At hand to uphold and sustain.
(To be continued in How Do We Deal with Sadness? – Part 2)