Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
We were noticing one of our grandsons was acting a bit out of character. He and his siblings were over for the evening, and he just did not seem his happy, talkative, interested in everything self. Lots of things were bothering him. His brother set him off as they were playing. Not unusual, but this time he let it get to him and came and sat down in the other room and was shedding a few tears. When we asked him what was up, he just shrugged his shoulders and stared off. Again, not his usual response. He got frustrated playing with some toys and again stomped off, frustrated, and went to sit by himself. Later that night he and I were talking, and I asked him again what was up and recounted his actions. We went through some possibilities. It came down to he was sad. He was not sure why, but he was just sad. We talked about how God made us with feelings and sometimes we just feel things and we are not sure why. We also talked that it’s okay to be sad sometimes. I encouraged him to pray about and let God know how he feels. I asked if he wanted to be alone for a bit, and he said yes. A few minutes later he called out, “Papa, I’m done being sad.” We went on with our evening.
God did put us together with feelings and emotions. And it’s okay to feel them and express them, as long as we don’t hurt anyone or ourselves. This feeling of sadness, when expressed, is a lament. Sometimes it’s tough to find the words to express how we feel. The Bible has a lot of laments, these expressions of sadness are there to help us give words to our feelings.
Psalm 5:1-2 Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.
Psalm 22:1-2 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
Psalm 88:3-5 For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
God wants to hear our laments, even if they are protests, complaints, or expressing our frustrations. God wants us to be honest with Him. He loves us and knows there will be times when we feel sad and that is okay. That is why Jesus said, “Come to Me…” in Matthew 11:28-30.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
To take Jesus’ ‘yoke’ is to immerse ourselves in who Jesus is and His way of life. It is to get to know Jesus. We do that as we read the Bible, especially the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As Easter approaches and we feel the sadness of Jesus paying the penalty for our sin on the cross and our own sin that nailed Him there, it is okay to feel sad and lament. For soon that sadness will turn into a time of joy and laughter.
Church, especially around Easter, is a great place to immerse ourselves in Jesus. If you do not already have a church you attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church that loves God and seeks to live life His way. Each Sunday we study the Bible and have a great time together. We would love for you to join us. Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.
Being okay with sadness along with you,
Mike McKay, Lead Pastor, Neighborhood Church