Our soul is an emotional being. It goes through many emotions in a life time. They include the happy ones and the sad ones. When we are happy, we stand tall. Our attitude too is positive. We are energized for all the things that must be done. We show eagerness to do good things. Happiness is an emotion that every human being craves and cannot be without. Everything the world does and strives to do is for obtaining it. They make ways for it; their desire is to escape sadness. Yet, happiness often escapes them. We ourselves see it escape us on many occasions. Though the reasons for it vary from one person to another, sadness is something we cannot permanently escape in this life. It can be from a sickness, loss, broken relationship, sin, works of others or suffering. It is something that every person experiences no matter who they are. It has become part of man through the work of Satan in the Garden of Eden. When perfection was lost in man, he became susceptible to sadness.
No one wishes to be sad. But, when one is sad he certainly wishes to be redeemed from it. Some of the sorrow men face in life is even unbearable to hear. We too as believers of Christ experience suffering in varying degrees that causes immense sorrow. For instance, the death of a loved one is no small pain and yet, it must be experienced. It has become part of life. There are still many other ways in which we have already experienced sadness and may further experience it. It is usually said that time heals all sadness. It is besides the truth. Time only makes one stubborn to sadness, since he or she has to move on in life. And when the memory of sadness hits them, they are again emotionally perturbed. Again, lingering and recurring sadness has led many into emotional illness. But, there is a true healing for sadness where once it is removed it will never perturb us again; we remember the sadness, but do not succumb to it. As believers we are privileged to have had it. And the Scripture reveals, “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul” (Ps. 19:7).
A life without sadness is impractical, and there is a complementary work to it. It is performed only by God’s law. It is being restored to happiness. And the reason is forthright – His law is perfect. In other words, it has everything in it to settle our emotions wherein we are brought back into God’s perspective. When a situation that caused sadness cannot be undone, His Word substitutes our sadness with courage, strength and encouragement to live on. It is a great counselor restoring us to calmness. Again, when we sin and realize we grieved Him, we are sad. We cannot undo what we have done. Yet, when we seek His forgiveness for the grief caused, He restores us by His law. Each time we are saddened for any reason His law can substitute it with happiness, if we indeed turn to it. It shows the things we haven’t seen prior to our sadness. For instance, when we suffer righteously, it helps us to see the bigger picture. Our heart is filled with untold joy through the hope of better things.
However, one of the greatest difficulties in times of sadness is turning to God’s law with a view for happiness; for the emotional instability, confusion and the stress one enters into can be overwhelming. Following these simple rules now will surely help us overcome the difficulty.
1. Cultivate fearing God. “He said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land’” (Jon. 1:9). Jonah’s fear of God saved him. The beauty of it is that he simply could not live apart from it. We can make fear of God our emotional attitude to be freed from the clutches of sadness. Whether we fear Him as in revering Him or as in afraid of Him, it is good. For we have realized we ought to respect Him and ought not to disobey Him. It is the start to be filled with happiness under any circumstance.
2. Never think over our head. We should not be over confident regarding our life for Christ. For we do not know what tomorrow or the next moment may bring. Peter was once over confident and Jesus had this to say to him. “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times” (Matt. 26:34). When we are over confident and fall, it becomes very difficult to regain our composure. So, we must rather strive to live in the moment God gave by His will.
3. Strive to see the kingdom of God often. When we are born again by grace through faith, we ought to live in the essence of being born again. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3:3). The often we see God’s power and experience His presence the more willing and able we are to turn to Him in times of sadness. The difficulty in turning to Him can not only stem from stubbornness, but also from the inability of the flesh. The memory of God working in our life is a great strength to turn to Him in sadness.
4. Hold on to the things we learn of God and Christ. It is not easy. It requires great discipline, the deliberate act to grow in faith. A reflection of it is the following. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). We increase in the knowledge of God by going back and forth in the Word.
5. Be reticent to fight by the flesh. It is a principle Paul sought to follow. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:3). Our emotions can sometimes deceive us to argue or war in the flesh for results; it only gets worse. It is a platform for Satan to effectively bring sadness into our life more quickly and exceedingly. If we are being pushed to make war in the flesh, it is not of God. God never pressures us for it to bring an end to any situation.
6. Keep in mind that which God really gave us. He does not want sadness in our life. If it is not so, He will not be forthcoming to give us His law to restore our soul. More importantly, He would not have given us His Son and sacrifice Him to remove the sadness caused by sin and flesh. Paul was very observant of it. He reminded it to the believers by saying, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace” (2 Thess. 2:16). By giving us eternal comfort and good hope by grace He made known to us that there is always a way for happiness in every sadness. He makes way, because He loved us. Whether or not we realize it, it is His will that we always live in comfort and receive the good hope of things to come by grace. If we realize it, we are free.