Feeling sad is the worst. It makes me feel helpless, small, and weak. So I try to avoid it. I distract myself, tell myself everything is fine, find something to be angry about instead, or simply ignore it. But one way or another, sadness always comes back—usually stronger than before. So how do we avoid avoiding our sadness? As they say, “The only way out is through.” We can’t skip over feeling sadness; we have to go through it. But we don’t have to do it alone.
Once we’ve put our trust in Jesus—believing He died and rose from the grave for us—He is with us through the Holy Spirit. He feels our sadness, and not in a distant way. Jesus knows firsthand what it’s like to be sad. Isaiah 53:3 describes Him as “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” This verse brings me great comfort. It reminds me that when I tell Jesus about my sadness, He can sincerely say, “I know what that’s like.” It makes me feel less alone.
Similarly, the lament psalms also make me feel less alone. These are specific songs or poems in the book of Psalms where people bring their sadness, anger, and complaints to God. In Psalm 13:1-2, for example, David accuses God of forgetting him, saying, “O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?” These raw, honest words remind me that everyone experiences deep sadness, even people following God thousands of years before me. The lament psalms remind me that I can tell God about my feelings with complete honesty, trusting Him to love me.
Remember when I mentioned “the only way out is through”? If we keep reading Psalm 13, we see this truth play out. Instead of shrinking away from his sadness, David brings it to God and lays it all out. He walks through the sadness with God. And at the end, we see that he does get through it. Verses 5-6 say, “But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.” How beautiful is that? This is what God wants—to walk with us through the painful sadness so He can bring healing to our hearts. When I run away from feeling my sadness, I’m also running away from that healing. The only way out is through. But praise God; He goes through it with me. • Taylor Eising
• Consider taking a look at a few lament psalms, such as Psalm 13, 25, 86, and 88. Then consider writing your own lament psalm, pouring out your sadness to God. Remember, Jesus came—and died and rose again—to be with us in our sadness.
The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18 (NLT)