Does the Bible say it is okay to take time and mourn over the hard times we face?
Is this a little different than the common phrase you might be used to about making something good out of something hard (or sour for that matter?) As a therapist I want to let you know that you don’t have to be there right away. If life has recently handed you something you wish you didn’t have to deal with then let me be the first to tell you that it’s ok to have sorrow over that. Over and over again in the Psalms are scriptures that speak of crying out to the Lord, which leads me to believe that it’s ok to do just that…
“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” ~Psalm 18:6
Maybe it’s because I work in a field that tends to see a lot of suffering or maybe because I am just eager to know how to properly use all those emotions that God created us (in his own image) with, but for whatever reason I am very curious about how people respond to suffering in our world today. I tend to have super-human hearing for mantras that people spout off when they hear of someone going through something hard. You know what I mean. Do you have a well-meaning friend in your life that sounds like a Hallmark card when it comes to troubles in your life? Does it seem as if she is a never ending recording of catch phrases that do nothing that make you feel worse for feeling the way you do? In her good intentions, does she say things like, “When one door closes a window opens elsewhere”, or “I’m sorry such and such happened, but at least you have ________!” Or what about, God doesn’t want you to be sad about this. He just wants you to be happy because he has given you so much already.” Ooh, these are hard statements to tackle; after all they have some truth to them. If we trust in a Sovereign and Loving God who has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) then we do have the ability to embrace suffering or even the every day trials with a new perspective. HOWEVER, and that’s a big however, even when we know this truth it might take a while for that head knowledge to move to our heart and start taking shape in our lives. And that’s OK.
So often in today’s world the messages of pulling ourselves up by our boot straps and making something good out of nothing subliminally (or not so subliminally if you have “look-on-the-bright-side-Betty” as your BFF) send us the message that we can’t ever be upset or sad or frustrated or even angry that something hasn’t gone our way. So then you are faced with condemnation for your own emotions and not only are you sad that something happened but you now are feeling poorly for feeling sad about it! Whew, that is exhausting just writing about it. I know it feels exhausting too. I see it in my clients and I have experienced it personally as well. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us that it’s OK to be exactly where you are. God isn’t mad at you for being sad; in fact he is sad right along with you. Even if everyone else in the world is telling you to snap out of it, that same Sovereign and Loving God who has a plan for your life also wants to be with you in the suffering. He wants you to know that you aren’t alone and it is totally OK to be experiencing what you are in that moment.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are…” ~Hebrews 4:15
So whether you are going through a season of sorrow right now or you find yourself always having an answer for someone who is take a moment to reflect on being all there for the moment. For the sufferer, remember it’s perfectly acceptable to experience your emotions, suppressing them will only come back to hurt you later on. Take a moment to go before the Lord and cry out to him, he loves to hear your voice, no matter why you come to him. For the one who always is searching for a way to make someone feel better, ask yourself whom are you really helping when you respond that way? I know you mean well but you might just be trying to make the situation easier on yourself by prescribing a quick fix. Suffering is uncomfortable, for everyone involved, but big or small trivial or tragedy, suffering is hard and never easy so let’s just give everyone permission to experience it at their own pace. You might just find out that listening is much easier than offering advice and the sufferer might come to realize that there is heavenly perspective to have…once you have allowed them to be where they are. Finally, remember that you are never alone. We live in a fallen and broken world and because of that hard things are going to happen. Please, dear reader, know this to be true: God has not abandoned you and wants to walk through this with you. Even when you can’t even think about your next step, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” ~ Exodus 14:14
Written by Tracy Carson