Sometimes, sad things happen. Losing someone we love, losing a job we hoped to keep, an unexpected move, a special pet passing away, an unwanted divorce-some things are just sad. And when these things happen, it’s ok to feel sad. Just like when happy things happen we feel happy, just like when exciting things happen we feel excited, feeling sad is a natural part of being a human.
The thing about being sad is that sometimes our sadness makes other people really uncomfortable, or even sad themselves. Some people might hate seeing us feel sad so much that they go to great lengths to try to cheer us up, and we start feeling pressure to pretend like everything’s ok. Other people might belittle our feelings in a way, and make us feel like it’s time to “move on” or “get over it”. And there does come a time in all situations when it’s right to accept that the situation is different, to find a new normal, and look for things that make us happy again. But no one can put a time limit on that, because things are different for each person.
And truthfully, it isn’t healthy, or fun for that matter, to spend the majority of our lives feeling sad. It’s not good if you constantly feel sad for no reason-if you spend your whole life feeling so sad that you can’t eat, sleep, or get motivated and you can’t figure out why. But those big sad things, the things that matter deeply to us, it’s just fine to feel sad about those for awhile. To talk about it, to write about it, whatever we need to do. Those things are a part of healing.
Feeling sad doesn’t mean that we have a lack of faith, it doesn’t mean that at all. In Ecclesiastes it says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” The Bible is full of people who felt sad-women who couldn’t have babies, people who lost the ones they loved, people who knew they had made huge mistakes. Even Jesus felt sad. God created us with a huge range of emotions and He is not made nervous or offended by our sadness. Feeling sad doesn’t mean that we lack faith, it’s what we do with our sadness that matters. A really low time can be an opportunity to depend on God and grow like we never have before, even if we also feel confused and angry.
This isn’t really a cheerful message, but it’s what was on my mind. But this is a cheerful thought-if we have Jesus we can know, absolutely know, that we have a reason to hope, even during our saddest times. Not just after this life is over, but today and every other day.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33