Everyone will experience sadness
Sadness is emotional pain that results from any kind of personal loss. The intensity of sadness usually matches the extent of the loss, so the greatest sadness comes from the loss of a close relationship or loved one. Sadness takes shape in many ways, including melancholy, grief, disappointment, homesickness, loneliness, sorrow, dejection, anguish, discouragement, and despair. Sadness is not the same as depression. One is a normal response to tough times, while the other is a serious illness that requires medical care.
Sorrow can be good and bad
Sadness can be sinful. Our sense of loss may be related to selfish life patterns or self-centered goals. It can be a result of loving the wrong things in life. But the Bible gives many examples of godly people experiencing sadness. Hannah was heart-broken over her inability to bear children, but her sadness moved her to turn to God.
1 Samuel 1:10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.
Jeremiah was deeply grieved over the destruction of Israel by the Babylonians.
Lamentations 2:11 I have cried until the tears no longer come;my heart is broken. My spirit is poured out in agony as I see the desperate plight of my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets.
Later, he expressed trust in God even in his deep grief. Sorrow can lead us to greater dependence on God, but we can let it drive us away from him.
Jesus himself experienced sorrow many times, included the night before he was crucified.
Matthew 26:38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.
The Bible tells us that Jesus never sinned. His grief was not selfish. It was a fitting reaction to the world’s sin that required his death on the cross.
God can use your sadness to transform you
The Bible shows people very open about their sorrow. It never encourages us to fake joy.
Psalm 69:3 I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.
If we try to deny or minimize the reality of our sadness, we stand in the way of what God can do through it. Many people respond to loss by running away from God or getting mad at him. But others have learned to receive pain and loss as a gift because of how God uses it to transform our lives.
- God can use sadness to help us recognize our need for him.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation.
- God can use sadness to purify what we value. It can cause you to evaluate what things really matter enough to truly be mourned.
- God can use sadness to enlarge our souls. Sorrow can make you a deeper, wiser, more compassionate person.
- God can use sorrow to develop greater dependence on him.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
This passage compares life’s losses to sharing in the death of Jesus. The result of loss is that through it we can experience the abundant, resurrection life of Jesus more fully.
God can use you to help others with their sorrow
The Bible calls us to have empathy for others who are sad.
Romans 12:15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
We’re called to enter into others’ emotional lives – both in times of joy and in times of grief. God will use this in people’s lives.
2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
So be willing to embrace your own sorrow for what God can do in you. Be willing to engage the sorrow of others for what God can do in them through you.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- What is the last movie that made you cry? What happened?
- When is sadness sinful? Give an example.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable are you expressing sorrow openly or in public? Explain.
- What are some ways that God can use sadness to transform us?
- How have you discovered God at work during times of sorrow?
- Who was there to weep with you in your sadness? What did they do that helped you the most?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.