I am going to ask you to do something a bit strange: consider some sort of sadness that is in your life. Perhaps there is acute pain or grief and it isn’t hard at all for you to think of something difficult. Or, your life may be full of positivity and ease right now. That is great. But that can also be a useful time to consider some challenges. In either case, bring a current sadness to mind.
It is common in our culture to think that sad thoughts or feelings are to be avoided or covered up. Sadness is something to simply endure until something else can distract us from these feelings.
But, Jesus says that mourning can lead us towards a flourishing life.
Read the 2nd beatitude out loud:
4 Flourishing are the mourners because they will be comforted.Matthew 5:4
Hmmm. Most of us don’t associate mourning with flourishing. What could Jesus possibly be getting at?
This last week, I decided to take Jesus at his word. I was feeling quite sad because some people had made a decision that hurt me and others who are close to me. My sadness was turning into anger. I found that I wanted to expel my sadness through anger, but then I recalled verse 4—that I can flourish when I mourn. How? By receiving comfort (they WILL be comforted). I paused. I invited Jesus into my pain and asked for him to bring comfort.
And, he did. Mysteriously, the anger in me settled. I didn’t ignore or cover up my sadness, but I invited Jesus right into the middle of it. And, I felt comfort.
More than that, I felt empowered to be able to move beyond the hurt and disappointment I was feeling. In other words, Jesus didn’t just neutralize my emotion, but he built resilience and grit in me.
Don’t you need some of that?
Today or this week, a sadness may seek to overwhelm you. I encourage you: don’t ignore it. Don’t numb it with more Netflix or food or alcohol. Instead, welcome Jesus into it and ask him to carry it.
In doing so, you’re learning the Jesus Way of trusting him with our burdens.
Write a prayer that invites the Holy Spirit to help you to recall our devotion today when you experience sadness, anxiety or anger.