I've been thinking lately about sadness. Is it really as bad as it's cracked up to be? Does it deserve its bad reputation? And what loon would even be asking these questions?
Well, this loon is. If anyone were ever to read this blog, they might get the impression that I am an excruciatingly, exasperatingly happy person, verging on either obnoxious or intoxicated. I realize that. However, the real truth is, I find myself sad. A lot.
The other day I was walking into my Bible study discussion battling some piercing ache in my heart. Not a physical pain, an emotional one. And I thought to myself, I am so tired of hurting. Lord, why am I always hurting? Why do I always have to hurt? And I felt like the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear: it gives you understanding.
I have, I'm ashamed to say, often been amazed at the lack of understanding among various women I've met over the years. Some simply don't understand how Scripture and God's love for us impacts our lives and relationships. And others have a depressing way of making the wonders of Jesus trite and banal. Their verbiage exposes that their emotions are not engaged even as they are encompassed on all sides by God's truth. They lack understanding in a different way.
So this touch from the Holy Spirit helped. It was a drink of cool water, and I am thankful.
For the record, I am not in the habit of taking thoughts that run through my head and attributing them to the Holy Spirit. This touch was different. It wasn't me; it was Him.
I am so thankful for His touch, for His gentle words, His comfort, because I was on the verge of asking Him if I should just go to the doctor and get an anti-depressant. I know I could have it for the asking. Basically, just medicate the ache away.
But I'm not depressed. I'm really not depressed. Hurting, even often, is not the same as being depressed. There is plenty of joy in my life, my happy moments are truly happy, I believe everything I say about the marvelous truths of Scripture and how much God loves and cares for me. I am not unhappy in the least. I am happy! But things still hurt, even often.
I have typed out, more for my own benefit than anyone else's, the verses we all know from Romans, James, Hebrews and 1 Peter that talk about the blessedness of trials. Eh. Although I would never dispute the unerring truth of these Scriptures, they don't really hit at what I am talking about here.
Well, the Hebrews passage is definitely relevant. You know it -- it talks about how God disciplines His children as a father does his son. He disciplines those He loves for our good, so we can share in His holiness. While it is unpleasant at the time, it later yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Psalm 34:18 comes closer: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
My heart has been broken, and because of that, I have been blessed to feel God's presence. He has been near to me and has saved me. Not any nearer to me than He is to anyone else, but hurting has made my heart sensitive to know His presence, and I have been blessed.
No antidepressants for me. When sadness comes, I will welcome it as a friend and take my delight in the Lord.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that
addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of
the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines
the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives." It is for
discipline that yo have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For
what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left
without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are
illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly
fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much
more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined
us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us
for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all
discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the
peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect. that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
1 Peter 1:6-9
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.