Sadness and suffering as a Christian
I'm pretty sure we all have our own battles, things that pain us in our life, dreams that have gone unfulfilled, desires left rusting by the wayside. We are certainly not alone when we struggle with this. Sadness and suffering seems to be a universal part of the human experience.
It is God's desire that all men should be saved, but we are painfully aware that not all are. God Himself cannot lay claim that all His desires are met.
Jesus, during His time here on earth as a man, surely did suffer and as our suffering servant He sympathises with us and our struggles.
Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
And Jesus certainly was not immune to sadness, He experienced grief for those He loved who died (spoiler, this guy was brought back to life!)
Heb 5:7 For Jesus, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong cryings and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared,
Heb 5:8 though being a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
Joh 11:32 Then when Mary had come where Jesus was, seeing Him, Mary fell down at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
Joh 11:33 Then when He saw her weeping, and also the Jews who came with her weeping, Jesus groaned in the spirit and troubled Himself.
Joh 11:34 And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.
Joh 11:35 Jesus wept.
Joh 11:36 Then the Jews said, Behold how He loved him!
Rev 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
2Co 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
2Co 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2Co 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2Co 1:6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
2Co 1:7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
And I have confidence that I can put the "why" question aside, and trust Him in that matter, and move forward to serving Him, because He has assured me that He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Job 1:20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
Job 1:21 And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Hab 3:17 Though the fig tree shall not blossom, and fruit is not on the vines; the labor of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food. The flock is cut off from the fold, and no herd is in the stalls;
Hab 3:18 yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Hab 3:19 Jehovah the Lord is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk on my high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
There is something in my Spirit that is prevents me from losing faith that He has this in His hands. That strong confidence or trust in Him means I do not need to fear. In times like this I tend not to study theology or debate issues, in fact to be honest I don't read much at all in these times. What I manage to do is just sit and rely upon that confidence I have developed through previous trials, simply sit and know.
Psa 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God! I will be praised among the nations, I will be praised in the earth.
Psa 46:11 Jehovah of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
The psalms seem to be a lifesaver during times like this. Ps 23, 27, 46, 103, 105. I appreciate the small things, the hug from my child, the sun as it sets, the beauty of flowers I see. It's not a time to exercise "head knowledge" but of resting in Him.
My prayers seem to be very short "I trust You". Deep breath in, deep breath out. It's not really intercession. It's just sitting with Him, much like you can with a best friend where you don't feel the need to fill in all space with words.
I find it comforting to let my mind drift to the Hero's of the faith (Read Heb 11) and be reminded of the many ways the Lord was faithful to them and brought them through much bigger struggles and much greater personal pain that I myself am experiencing.
And definitely do not avoid the gathering of the saints together, there is something about the presence of others who also love the Lord, that can lift the Spirits. It reminds us that we are not alone, but it also reminds us that we are not the only ones in sadness and helps take the focus off ourselves.
Of course this doesn't mean I manage sadness perfectly, I am human like the rest of us, but I have learned over time how to cope more effectively in the down times than I have in the past.
Praying for all of those who are currently experiencing sadness or who are still learning how to glean comfort from the Lord. May you learn this lesson faster than I have .