Read: Psalm 42:1-11, Psalm 126:1-6, Nehemiah 8:10
Can I be honest?
Like, really, really honest?
I struggle with feeling sad. Not all the time, of course. But sometimes I do.
While I want to end this study with rainbows and unicorns and motivation, I also want to be real. We all experience both light and darkness. Some of us are living in a season where life is full of glitter and sparkles and all the smiley face stickers a girl could imagine. Life doesn’t seem to get any better and we let our friends know with every single status update. It’s good to celebrate this season of happiness but then there are others of us that aren’t in that state of mind, and every time we see another adorable picture of your family or latest craft project we are happy for you but hate you (just a little!).
Some of us are in a season where life is just making us feel sad. Incredibly sad. We might be smiling on the outside, but we are living with an aching soul on the inside. It hurts for us to feel this way and we want to celebrate your happiness but the honest-to-goodness-truth is that sadness is a hard season to endure. The Psalmist who wrote Psalm 42 pours out his heart by asking:
Whenever I feel the sadness creep into my heart, shame is often by its’ side. Why do I feel sad when I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and the sweetest four people who call me wife and mom? I have so much to be thankful for yet I find myself feeling sad for the things unknown, the hope that has yet to be fulfilled, the yearning for a life lived fully and completely on purpose. Sadness turns a confident girl into the girl curled up in the corner of her closet, asking for someone to help her feel happy again. I feel like the Psalmist. But then he says,
What I’ve come to realize about happiness and sadness is it really has nothing to do with our circumstances and everything to do with our hearts. Our hearts have to choose hope, even when our circumstances seem hopeless. Some of the happiest people in the world are in the worst of circumstances. Don’t you believe that they are happy only because they choose to hope?
Just as the deer pants for streams of water, so our souls have to pant for God (Psalm 42:1). When the sadness creeps in, and we don’t understand why we are feeling so down, we can go to God with the deepest of our sorrows through prayer.
When we go to God with our troubles and sorrows, He promises to restore our souls. Not only does He replace our sorrows with joy, but He also brings happiness back into our lives to the point where we are laughing and singing. Isn’t that crazy?
One of the beautiful ways of the LORD is that He allows us to suffer so we can recognize our need for a Savior. Jesus’ death and resurrection assured us that happiness can come out of any heartache. When we find ourselves feeling sad, we don’t need to feel ashamed. We need to experience our sadness, give God our pain, and have hope that soon our lives will be restored. You and I will feel happy again.
May your tears turn into songs of joy.