2 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NLT) For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
“Any mind that is capable of real sorrow is capable of good.” – Harriett Beecher Stowe. Have you experienced sorrow in your life? Are there things that just don’t make sense that cause you to live in a state of continual grieving and sadness? Sorrow is distress that can be caused by many conditions and circumstances in our life. Trials produces it quite readily. The emotions caused by loss, affliction, and even disappointments that linger in our heart and mind well past the event that precipitated such thought. I know people who live in this state of transition. It is a place somewhere between death and life. Afraid to step out of the past, but in need of the future and forever, we struggle to understand why God who loves us so much would allow such things to happen to His Beloved Children.
There is purpose in your sorrow today. Sorrow leads us from sin and results in salvation…at least the kind of sorrow that the Lord allows in life. Godly sorrow will always turn us from sin. Sin is the point in time when God’s Will is abandoned for lesser things. It is not the Lord who takes it from us but our own behavior that keeps us from the greater things that He promised. We blame God for our freedom rather than embracing it to have all that is ours as sons and daughters of God. Today we must learn to welcome sorrow especially the kind that leads us to repentance for as we turn from sin and all the less things, we can fully apprehend by faith what belonged to us from the beginning.
John 16:32-33 (NLT) But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Trials and sorrows should come as no surprise to a believer. Jesus told us that they would be part of life on the earth. You will have seems pretty clear and apparent that there will be hard times associated with life on earth. But those things aren’t going to happen to me, right? Wrong. You will have trials no matter how saved you are. You will experience sorrow even if you heart and mind are set on Jesus. Those who serve in churches faithfully still go through hard times. The good do die young. The wicked will prosper all around you. There will be a good fight for faith. Please understand this is not the Lord punishing us or ignoring His Promise. In each of these instances, it is an opportunity for sorrow to become joy. Mourning to become dancing. Dead places to be resurrected to life. Your disappointment becomes hope when it is attached to one’s faith. See God is using those sorrows to bless you and complete you. You must be empty to be filled. Thought painful in process, it will always prosper you.
“The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich. He adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) This is the promise verse for my life right now. I am learning that my wealth in the Lord does not have any sorrow attached to it if I am willing to wait on the Lord to complete every good work. The Lord promised me when our son was sick that He would cause everything to work together for my good because I love Him and am called according to His Purpose. This is kind of hard to visualize cleaning up vomit and watching your child suffer helpless to relieve his pain and suffering. It doesn’t always make sense what the Lord is doing or how He will do it. This is why faith is important. We must trust Him enough to stick it out no matter what. It is then and then that we overcome the world and step into His Promise.
Isaiah 53:3-6 (NLT) He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Jesus was “a man of many sorrows”. It was our weaknesses that He carried and it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. Jesus carried every single one of our sorrows to the Cross with Him. We find relief from our sorrows at the Cross when we lay them at the Feet of Jesus. He did not place the sorrows on our back. Sin is the cause of our sorrow as it leads us away from the Lord to partake of lesser things. We feel regret because the eternity hidden in our heart knows the potential of our life when purpose is fulfilled. We are disappointed because the measure of faith in us knows hope offers so much more. The Holy Spirit is given to help us in our weakness. As we surrender our sorrow to the Lord, the Holy Spirit works in its place to prosper us.
“Sorrow is a fruit. God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it.” – Victor Hugo. In the midst of suffering, please do not tell the person that God only gives the toughest battles to the strongest warriors. The person fighting does not feel strong, they are being completely undone in weakness. No one knows God’s Purpose and Plan in each trial and trouble. Only the Lord knows what He is doing, the outcome and the promise. When I read this quote by Victor Hugo, I wanted to punch him. No seriously. Just haul back and pop him one, sorry Mr. Hugo. But as I let the words sink in, it makes sense. The Lord knows the potential of our life. He allows things to happen to us so He can work through us. Sorrow presses us into His Presence. Let’s face it when things are good we tend to say, “God, I got this” and keep on trucking along. God loves us to much to allow us to stray too far from His Divine Plan for those who love Him and strive to live for Him.
In I Samuel 1:10-20, we see Hannah crying out in anguish to the Lord. So grieved by her barrenness, she desperately pleads with the Lord. Her devastation leads her to a place at the altar. Her performance convinces Eli that she just may be drunk. However, after speaking with her, he knows that this is complete desperation for God. Pregnancy is often used to explain the birth of promise. Jesus says in John 16:21, it will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. He is talking about his death and resurrection, but could the Lord also be cluing us in to the process of promise which is the birthplace of purpose. It is in our sorrow that we turn to the Lord like Hannah. She promised to return to the Lord the child she was given. She would bring Samuel back to the Temple to serve for his life. She would not share life with him but watch from afar. Would this not produce more sorrow? Life is a process of redemption offered to us by Jesus when He bore the sorrow of our sin. Our decision to love and serve Him does not end sorrow but makes it productive.
Jeremiah 31:12-13 (NLT) They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
It says in the Word of God that He tracks our sorrows even keeping our tears. (Psalm 56:8) It also tells us that those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. (Psalm 126:5) Sin causes pain and suffering to be a part of life. Whether you serve the Lord or not, you will go through many things in life that are difficult if not completely devastating. The difference between doing it with the Lord or on our own is evidenced in the harvest. The outcome can be life or death depending on what we believe. God wants to prosper us with all the promises that He preordained for our life. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one can get to the Father but through Him. (John 14:6) If we want God’s Plan and His Promise for our life, we must take our sorrow to the Lord. We have to go through Jesus to get there. Jesus has already paid for our sin so that we can make the exchange of sorrow for joy and mourning for dancing. We must only strive to live in His Presence to experience such productivity. Are you willing to plant your tears and trust the Lord to make something beautiful out of them? You must take your sorrow, regret and disappointments to the Lord and leave them there.
James 4:8-10 (NLT) Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
“The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole source of all our adversity.” – Sophocles. No, don’t pick up the big bat you use to beat yourself up over and over again. Sin is the reason that there is sorrow, regret, shame, disappointment and devastation in this world. If people could avoid sin or be rid of it on their own, Jesus’s death would have been unnecessary. Sin is unavoidable. God’s Plan is inevitable. As we give up our sin, the sorrow it produces in our life is changed to purpose. We begin to prosper as the Holy Spirit uses the fertile soil of a broken heart to plant seeds from the Word of God in it. He uses our tears to water our soul and make good things grow out of the dead things in our life. Nothing is wasted when surrendered to the Lord. He will use every broken detail to bring good to us, in us and through us. Let go of your sorrow today. Let the Lord turn it into joy. That was always His Intent to turn our mourning into dancing. Sorrow is the birthplace of promise but will abort if not birthed properly. Let go of the pain and suffering when the season is over so the harvest will come. Jesus is asking you to closer. Just a little closer, let go of anything that keeps you from Him and run into His Waiting Arms. He bore every sorrow for you so that you could have joy and peace. Honor Him by taking it.
Psalm 34:18 (NLT) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.