I have a long-standing relationship with sadness. Sadness would visit to do a good work in me, but I would then bar her from leaving. I believed that if I let her go, I’d automatically lapse into deceived, Pollyanna denial of the darker aspects of life, and that her return would be much more painful than if I simply kept her near.
I learned the hard way that sadness, when clung to, loses her vitality. She morphs from saturated blue into leaden grey, from productive grief into stultifying depression. She ceases to teach vital lessons and begins to drain vitality.
One day I decided to try something new. I would refute my belief that clinging to sadness provided some kind of safety. I realized that in my conscientious commitment to resist the lie that everything was good, I had fallen prey to the lie that everything was bad. I decided to let sadness do her very necessary work of deepening, burnishing, and mellowing my soul, and then let her go. From that point, when sadness would come to visit, she would work effectively. She’d clear out my clutter, pop my bubbles, squash my grandiosity, expel my complacency, and then leave. And she’d leave behind a larger space for joy than I had before. Yes, that was sadness’s work. To leave a larger space for joy.
Imagine yourself in a garden. You notice the thorns and the briars, and express grief at their presence. Then Jesus calls to you. He says, “Look at the beautiful blossoms too. Yes, there are signs of the curse, but My artistry is still on display.” Imagine Him then giving you a bouquet of beautiful flowers, flowers that will never die.
Dear Lord, the effects of the curse are everywhere. At times they will come knocking. Let us allow them to do their work of change in our lives, but at the same time, increase our capacity for joy. Give us the courage to experience the fullness of joy you promise us in your Word. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:4-5