Day #25

Psalm 30:4-5

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

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

41 thoughts on “Day #25

  1. Vanessa

    Today touched me. I, too, have let Sadness linger a bit longer than necessary. After so many years of allowing her to take up residence within, it’s time for change! Despite the effects of choices made by others or a lack of change I see around me, I don’t have to let it affect me. God is still on the throne, and through His promises, through new mercies, an edifying community, and a beating heart, I know that His purposes will come through.

    Reply
  2. Valerie

    It’s hard to pick out a specific incident, but I know there have been seasons of my life where it was easy to be sad on top of worrying. I am so glad that God brought me through those. I want to experience even deeper joy through His love and care for me.

    Reply
  3. Daniel Parsons

    When have you wept for a night to find joy in the morning? How did you feel when God brought you that joy, that that big, beautiful, Valentine’s bouquet?

    Because of the pandemic & travel restrictions back in October 2020, I was separated from my wife Patricia for about 6 weeks. I had just gotten through a major surgery and needed her help. We prayed while we were stranded in the Frankfurt, Germany airport and I made arrangements for her to travel to her home in Chile. I was very sad as I boarded a flight to Boston alone.

    One thing that I learned was just how much I love my wife and enjoy being near her. When I was able to come down to Chile in November, I was able to be reunited with Patricia. So the experience did turn into joy and we are learning how to get through difficult times together.

    Reply
  4. Megan

    I have wept many nights where joy /didn’t/ come in the morning. Perhaps I wasn’t looking for it; I had resigned myself to joylessness. I remember a couple of years ago, waking up and the very first thing I did was cry, not for joy, but because I was disappointed to have woken up. Another day of pain…

    Well, things have changed a fair bit since then. Even though most days are still painful, and I tire easily, I resonate with the thoughts that pain carves out the distractions and clutter in our hearts, and leaves space for God to fill us with His presence and joy, if we will let Him.

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      Megan, thank you so much for sharing. You put into words how I have felt. I think I still don’t experience much joy, but having a deep sense of peace in His presence is a step in the right direction.

      Reply
  5. Sarah

    In my late teens, one of my childhood friends was diagnosed with idiopathic aplastic anemia, a disease in which his immune system began attacking and destroying his own blood cells. When they investigated treatment options, we were told that he didn’t have a matched sibling donor for a bone marrow transplant, the only truly successful known treatment. All other treatments dropped to a success rate of well below 50%, with a chance of relapse or the development of cancer in the future significantly over 50%, with an anticipated survival rate of 5-6 more years. Then his parents discovered an experimental treatment at Johns Hopkins––less that 50 (if I remember correctly) patents had ever received the treatment, but it appeared that this treatment was at least as successful as the other options, and so they decided to go. They didn’t have the money, but someone found out and donated. And so after months of my friend surviving on transfusions, they flew back to Johns Hopkins. I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again. But I prayed. Many people did. My friend developed an infection and very nearly died around Thanksgiving, but God sustained him. I’ll never forget the day my family drove two cars, ours and my friend’s family’s car, to the airport to meet them the day they returned from Johns Hopkins. I thought my heart would burst for joy and thankfulness. We weren’t able to do more than wave from a distance because my friend’s immune system was still compromised, and he and his family would be living at a hospital close to home while the doctors continued to monitor my friend’s recovery. But recover he did, as if he had never been sick. Today, 15 years later, he’s a pastor, a husband, and a father to two beautiful children.

    This meditation is a good reminder that the dark night I have been through more recently will turn into day. I feel like I must be close to dawn, with hints of light beginning to show. I can either choose to let sorrow go and throw open the curtains to receive the light, or I can make my night longer by clinging to sorrow and keeping the curtains tightly closed. I want to choose the light.

    Reply
  6. Cheryl

    I’m still struggling with sadness. I guess it hadn’t occurred to me that sadness can do a good work in me. I haven’t seen any positive effects happening in me. Yet.

    I’d like the work of sadness to be over and gone from me and the joy to come in and fill up the space left open by her departure.

    Reply
  7. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    I remember a moment in time when I was hurt with words by my husband. He didn’t realize it though. Instead of going to him about it I prayed, for 2 weeks!
    Then my man came to me through the working of the Holy Spirit and said sorry! It made me realize that God heard my prayers and was showing me once again that He brought my husband and me together. And that He is with us!!! It also showed me the power of patience and trust in my heavenly Father, letting Him lead.
    Peace

    Reply
  8. Sharon

    This is one I’m still learning. Between a lifetime of physical pain and health struggles, and my family’s belief that all things remotely pleasurable should be shunned in favor of a “martyr” lifestyle, joy is a foreign concept. I’m doing better at not clinging to the sadness, but I still haven’t figured out exactly how I’m supposed to let God fill the space left behind. I do know He’s the only thing that can truly fill that space though.

    Reply
  9. Jane

    I can relate! It seems sadness and hopelessness currently need to be escorted to the door of my heart to depart! Thankfully I can look back to times when God has brought joy after sadness and have the confidence that He will do it again. One very intense time of sadness in my life was when my husband and I went to my first doctor appointment in my second pregnancy, anxiously awaiting the first time we would get to hear the heartbeat of our second child, but there was no heartbeat. That miscarriage was very difficult. Another miscarriage came after being only a few weeks into the pregnancy. Fear began to set in that I would not be able to have a second child, but that was not so. The Lord brought another baby girl into our family. And now she’s 19! The years go by quickly, just as parents told me they would when my girls were little.

    Reply
  10. Nicky Dube

    I never realized this is what I do with sadness at times! This was an eye opener for me. Most recently I can identify sadness when God was pruning me with the help of my husband and some mentors of ours. I would notice a flaw in myself and my thinking would turn to “woe is me” type thinking and the sadness descends. When I am able to see what God is trying to remove from my life, and the benefit of doing so, I am able to grasp the joy. God is truly merciful!

    Reply
  11. Kristina

    I have had several dark times over the past years were crying and sadness endured for much longer than a night but finally joy broke through. I love how you described how sadness can come and do her work effectively but then she needs to go and leave behind a larger space for joy. Now I see how I can be more intentional about how this works and not allow sadness to linger around longer that it needs to before the joy can come. I have also found that being grateful and praising God for all the good things He does and getting my eyes off myself has been immensely helpful for the more chronic sadness that tries to come in and take hold. It is my choice to either focus on the thorns or the beautiful flowers Jesus is holding out to me.

    Reply
  12. Mel

    When I think of nights of weeping, I think of those long nights of staying up for weeks on end with my babies and knowing nothing but sheer exhaustion. There were little brief moments of joy and hope that the next day would bring better rest. I’ve known sadness for most of my life so as depression has lifted the last few months, it’s been a strange and wonderful feeling to not have that heaviness. I was afraid to let sadness go, thinking I couldn’t handle the unfamiliarity. But grateful the clouds have lifted enough to show me that’s not the case!

    Reply
  13. Karen

    I felt God’s comfort and joy the morning after my Father’s death. I had spent a fitful night on the couch in grief. But the next morning, my heart was touched as all my blessings were brought to my mind. God comforted me and reminded me of His watchcare. Even my husband was amazed at how God had brought me through. Yes, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. May God be praised!

    Reply
  14. Amy

    Such a profound meditation. Sadness has always been a long-term visitor with me for as long as I can remember. I don’t think I even know how to let her go. Yet God has given me many moments of joy breaking through. For years I struggled with secondary infertility and three miscarriages, but when all hope seemed lost, God granted me a second child. While that birth was far more traumatic than expected, my son is such a joy to me.

    Reply
  15. Shirley Mann

    My older son made some bad choices while he was in academy. Near the end of his senior year he had to leave the school because of what he had done. Our whole family went to a family counselling session right after graduation. (He did not participate in the graduation, but our younger son was a junior class officer and did.) That was sad. But the thing that got me crying the most was when he decided to leave home and gave us only hours notice. I went to my room and cried a lot. We had no contact with him for awhile and didn’t even know for sure where he was. I don’t remember how long it was before he moved back home for awhile. Anyway, he learned from his mistakes and became a responsible, loving adult. He will turn 55 soon! (This is the son who had the heart attack in November.) Even though he lives 200+ miles from me, he has been helpful with advice and in-person assistance. It definitely was not the next morning that joy came, but it did return!

    Reply
  16. Ann

    The night before I was to fly out to meet a man that would eventually become my husband, a deep fog settled in the valley. I couldn’t even see the house across the street maybe 40 feet away. I cried all night. Not just because I thought I wouldn’t be able to fly out the next morning. But for the reason I was going to meet a man—because of being divorced and now single. The next morning amazingly brought sunny skies.

    Reply
  17. Ericka

    hmm. i dont know.
    theres something almost magical about crying.
    this morning my 7 year old daughter was having a bad morning. she was kinda getting into a little trouble, and she just basically said everyone was picking on her. so she laid in bed with me just crying and sobbing.

    but afterwards shes had a great day. she feels better. 🙂

    i cant think of specific instances really but it always feels better to have a good cry and sleep. as a parent of 4 busy littles (well, one is more of a busy young man) i could use a good tearjerker movie and a bath and a nap right now! 😛

    Reply
      1. Ericka Iverson

        thats kinda what i told her. 🙂 her tears will literally get rid of the icky feelings – the feelings are in the tears. <3

        Reply
  18. Sabrina

    While working in Thailand as a missionary teacher, one of my students was going through a major struggle, wrestling with desires for revenge over the murder of his father. I remember being so burdened for this student and committed to earnestly praying for him everyday. I watched God work an incredible miracle in his life over the course of a few months. He let go of bitterness, choosing to follow and serve God. It’s an experience that always reminds me of the fact that God does answer prayer!

    Reply
  19. Erin D

    When I was 14 my father died in a short 3 month battle with cancer. I hadn’t been able to have the relationship I longed for with him, so losing him so unexpectedly young was a shock and shut me down completely. I was consumed with grief and confusion and even anger at God. It took nearly a year and half before I could feel any sort of joy or happiness in life. I don’t remember what happened to lift the darkness, but I remember when it started to lift and I started to feel joy for the first time in so long I did cartwheels in front of the mall. My friend thought I was nuts and it was so unlike me.

    Reply
  20. Tara

    When have you wept for a night to find joy in the morning? How did you feel when God brought you that joy, that that big, beautiful, Valentine’s bouquet?

    My husband and I were in the process of adopting 7 (yes, seven) children and teens when COVID shut down the courts in the country where we live and work. First, the bio family of 4 of the kids backed out after experiencing significant pressure from extended family. Next, our only remaining boy turned 18, becoming ineligible for legal adoption. Soon after his sister decided to return to her [abusive] bio family. And shortly thereafter, our last girl turned 18 and became ineligible for adoption. It’s been a bit of a sadness roller coaster, but my husband and I are at peace knowing that there will soon be joy in the morning. To be continued….

    Reply
  21. Nowelle

    Mentioning the Valentine’s bouquet made me think of this old story. When my husband and I were dating, I was having a hard day. We made plans to spend the afternoon together at the park or something, but I cancelled. I wouldn’t open up to him, but just said that I needed some time alone (to cry). He was sad, but understanding. I was actually struggling because of how much I loved him. It was scary to me because of a previous relationship that didn’t turn out so well. When I came back home, there was a bouquet of flowers waiting on top of my mailbox. Now we are married and he was/is like a “bouquet” from God.

    Reply

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