Let sadness not define you,
But it will certainly refine you,
If you journey patiently along with it.
The primacy of sorrow,
Will get better tomorrow,
If we will learn in our sadness to sit.
“Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.”
— Ecclesiastes 7:3 (NLT)
Many commentators think of Ecclesiastes as a book written by someone who was depressed. That’s not the half of it.
We miss the opportunities that abound in life in the midst of the sorrowful. We tend to run or to resent, but to run or resent is to miss the point, because we do not like pain.
But pain is inherent in life. God will show us, if we journey within our sorrow, making a home for it, not pushing it away in denial or anger or bargaining, that there is only blessing beyond the sorrow – for God is met there!
We cannot grasp just how good God is to meet us, right there, in the grossness of the miry experience. We surely feel as though nobody’s ever had it as hard as we presently have it – yet, Jesus has. Jesus has. And more. Not that it’s at all about levels of suffering. It’s about God making himself real and reliable in the pit.
The value of journeying with our sadness is we realise, in the experience and afterward, if this thing cannot crush us, nothing can.
Resilience is the virtue learned when sorrow is journeyed with. We begin to meet our realities with a realistic resolve. We become less fazed. Our emotions even out over time. We are less tipped into the extremes of high and low.
Growth is such a thing as to be ours, when we are prepared to do what we can do any day. But growth may seem secondary when there is the all important task of staying alive or remaining at a distance from despair.
Sadness is not a thing to be feared. It has value, and, from a growth viewpoint, sadness is of far more value that frivolity.
Sorrow connects us not only with the intimate heart of God, it connects us with those who love us, because we must simply reach out and take the love we need.
Let’s not be afraid of sadness when it arrives. But, also, let it not define us, but refine us. There are many things that sadness can teach us, if we are patient and humble learners.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.