July 9, 2010

A Sad Heart

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 9, 2010

“So the King asked me, ‘Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” Nehemiah 2:2

Sadness can creep in like termites and over time erode the foundations of our joy. Or sadness can attack like a bandit and steal our gladness. Either way it is not fun being sad. Sadness can have a variety of sources. It may be health related. You battle chronic pain that it is almost unbearable. Medication provides temporary relief, but you still struggle.

Sadness solicits when someone you love dearly is suffering and you feel there is nothing else you can do. Your sadness may come from disappointment, deep hurt and let down, even betrayal. Perhaps your emotions are unstable. Discerning friends see it in your face. Your countenance is downtrodden, unable to mask the disappointment.

The loss of anything we value will contribute to sadness. It may be an opportunity, a friend, a death, money or the injustice another is experiencing. None of us is immune to sadness. You can deny its reality, but it is lurking to lead us to despair. But dealing with sadness requires more than a mental exercise of trying to think positive. Jesus was in anguish, just before His arrest in the garden. But, He appealed to His heavenly Father and defaulted to the will of the One who eventually brought gladness.

So express your frustration, heartache and grief to your heavenly Father. He already knows, but you need to be reminded of His unconditional love and grace. Jesus is there to understand and comfort. He feels your pain. Ask Him to make His joy your strength. This simple expression of humble dependence will not go unnoticed from your sympathizing Savior. Express how you feel to the one who is the creator of your emotions. He cares.

Another remedy for sadness is service to those in need. Visit an AIDS hospital, orphanage, cancer center or nursing home. Suddenly your sadness seems irrelevant, as you become caught up in helping another in their broken state. The smile of one crippled under the weight of disease will infuse your own soul with gratitude and hope.

Or, maybe you serve another through practical financial counseling. Their financial state is so ravished they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Yet this financially broken counselee has a peace, because their hope is in God—not money. Their pure heart makes your petty preoccupation over the loss of some stuff seem small. Your obsession shifts from your little loss to the greatness of God’s blessing.

Your service may find you helping in the church’s preschool. You may encourage your spouse by serving with them. The children’s pure heart and funny expressions will bring joy to your soul. You can’t help but smile around children, especially grandchildren. So, reengage with God, people, or something bigger than yourself. Overtime, fear will be replaced with hope, frustration with joy, and sadness with gladness.

“Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence” (Psalm 21:6).

Am I seeking joy from Jesus in my sad state? Who can I make glad, who’s sad?

Related Readings: Psalm 5:11; 69:32; 70:4; 100:2; 118:24; Luke 18:23: Revelation 19:7

Boyd Bailey is the author of Wisdom Hunters daily devotional and two devotional books, Infusion and Seeking Daily the Heart of God

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