There are times and seasons of life when sadness and sorrow come in like a flood. With every wave, it feels like life itself is against us. Why do such times come? There are many reasons. But I don’t want to discuss the why today. Sometimes the why just isn’t enough to help us move past the sadness. And since sadness comes in so many forms and from so many directions, sometimes the why. . . well it just makes it worse. So rather than discuss why sadness comes, I will share the secret to overcoming sadness and sorrow.
There is only one way to overcome every sadness and sorrow known to humankind. His name is Jesus. Now before you say, “Come on Steve, I don’t need another Sunday School lesson,” let me explain. The Word of God prophesied about Jesus, that He would be, “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) Jesus not only knew sadness; He knew the deepest of sadness.
Furthermore, the root cause of every sadness here in life under the sun, is that we live in a fallen world under the curse of sin. It doesn’t matter if sadness comes because we sin, because another sins against us, or because the curse of sin on the world brings with it every form of devastation, sickness and death… sin leaves those in its wake with sadness. Jesus understands this root cause of sadness better than anyone that has ever walked this earth. The Bible teaches us that in His time on earth, Jesus never sinned. He is perfect in every way. And to pay the price of sin, in His death on the cross, He not only took our sins upon Himself, “He became sin.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Meaning, he became that which is at the root of every sadness known to humankind. There is no sadness you experience that He is not intimately acquainted with. He is the only One that understands. So, what must we do to move from sadness?
First, you must be right with God by receiving His Son Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin and the salvation of your soul. Until you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, your only hope for happiness is in the people and things of a fallen world, that is prone to sadness. We can find temporary happiness in the things of this world, but the only eternal source of joy and happiness is Jesus.
Second, when are you tired and weary, go to Jesus. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Sometimes the source of our sadness is that we are tired from carrying heavy burdens He never meant for us to carry. Go to Him and receive rest.
Third, when the cares of life come sweeping in like a flood, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (I Peter 5:7) People spend up to $250 per hour to share their cares with people that have special training to treat sadness. But when you are sad, don’t wait to see a counselor. If you need to, make the appointment, but also go to your heavenly Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (called the Counselor by Jesus). He is on call for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18)
Fourth, strengthen yourself in the Lord. We read in the Old Testament, that at one point, “David was greatly distressed… But David found strength in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6) There are many ways to strengthen yourself in the Lord. (If you want to learn how to do this, I recommend the book Strengthen Yourself in the Lord by Bill Johnson.) The key to move from sadness to strength is to recognize sadness for what it is, but not give into it. My Dad taught me to do this in a very simple, yet effective way. As you live your life, tell the Lord you love Him, and you trust Him. And especially when sadness comes, remind yourself of the truth that you love Him, and you trust Him. Jesus said, “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) You will be surprised, when you tell Jesus you love Him and you trust Him, how quickly you will move from sadness to praise, which is the ultimate weapon against sadness.
Finally, to move from sadness, rejoice in the Lord. Paul, writing from a prison, a place full of sadness and despair, wrote, “always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-8) Christ in you, gives you the power to rejoice in spite of the sadness, and when you do this, this promise is true, “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent, O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” (Psalm 30:11-12)
For some, the pain and sorrow are so deep, this promise of turning morning into dancing may not be fully realized in this life. While the Bible teaches, we should be joyful in all circumstances, it doesn’t teach that we have to like every circumstance. And in the power of Jesus, we can be joyful in the midst of sadness. But when we are finally set free from the curse of sin, look at this great promise, “He will wipe away every tear.” (Revelation 21:4) But until that day, even if looking through tear filled eyes, fix your eyes on Jesus and move from sadness.