Have you ever been in a really sad season of life?
A season where your sadness overwhelms and feels like it is going to crush you. A season where you force yourself to crawl out of bed because you don’t want to face anyone or anything the day has to offer. A season where you feel so alone, all you want to do is cry. A season where the promises of God seem so far away, you have to fight every day to believe them.
That’s the season I am in right now.
My sadness seems every where, a prison created by my own self-centeredness combined with the brokenness that is etched into this world. Everyday I wake up and pray to God to sustain me. Yesterday I met with a friend who pointed me to truth and encouraged me that there is beauty in authenticity and in rejoicing in the midst of very real pain. She pointed me to scripture that reminded me of the Gospel and gave me practical suggestions to focus my heart on Jesus and I would love to share those with you friends.
I don’t know about you, but my whole life I’ve tried to be perfect. To look perfect, act perfect, have it all together- the fake it till you make it mentality. Imperfections were never an option. But here’s the thing- we are broken.
We are weak.
We are little.
God is strong.
God is powerful.
God wants every aspect of our hearts and most of the times, going through that process is painful. Usually God puts us out of our comfortable situations into uncomfortable one where we have to be stretched. Sad seasons are uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable when a stranger asks how you’re doing to say, “You know what, it’s a hard season, but I am fighting to believe God’s promises through it.” But God desires our integrity. He wants us to be real- to be honest. Not necessarily to bare our souls and tell our deepest sin struggles to every stranger at the grocery store. But he wants us to be real, to be authentic.
Make a List of Thankfulness
Everyday now I am making a list of things I am thankful for. At the top of this list is always the Gospel. When you remember that Jesus Christ, who was fully man and fully God, came to earth, lived the perfect life, died the death that we deserved, then defeated death so that we could be restored back into the original design He intended for us-it puts everything back into perspective. It centers our hearts where they should be- on Jesus. God wants us to rejoice through suffering.
Scripture is our weapon. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Here are some promises from scripture to encourage and remind you of the heart of God and how to rejoice through sadness.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14
God is sovereign over all things-all suffering, all sadness. He is sovereign over all circumstances. He is sovereign over Satan. God is sovereign over suffering. He uses it to make us more like Him, to make us understand our utter and complete dependance upon Him. The times I have been closest to God are the darkness times of my life. God used my biggest fear and biggest hardship to call me into ministry. I remember it vividly. I hadn’t eaten in days because I was crying out to the Lord to sustain me. I had been attacked by one of my closest guy friends. My biggest fear had become my biggest reality. I cried out to God, telling Him I had no desire to live anymore. With a soft voice He answered me with Philippians 1:21, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Right then I knew that this God who met me in the midst of my deepest sadness and rescued me-is a God worth living for-worth giving everything for.
God used that hardship to push me into ministry. We do not suffer in vain.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
God does not withhold good from us. All His plans are for His glory and for our good.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
Our power belongs to God. We are His broken vessels to do His will. We are going to be attacked on every side, but we are never without hope. Our lives and our hope is rooted completely in Jesus and in the cross.
God uses suffering. He uses it to remind us of our desperate need for Him. He wants our whole heart. He wants our everything. Remind yourself every day of the Gospel, of His promises, and that He is a good, good Father.