Valley of Sadness

Ecclesiastes 3:4 – A time to weep, and a time to laugh;  A time to mourn, And a time to dance.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Psalm 130 – Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; Lord hear my voice!  Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.  If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.  I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word do I hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning – Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.  O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and wit Him is abundant redemption, and He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Sooner or later, we all feel sad, down, or blue.  Life happens.  Solomon wrote of this in Ecclesiastes and the writer of Hebrews assures us we will have times of need in our lives.  However, occasionally, the sadness can become overwhelming and turn into a deeper level of emotional turmoil and can affect us in many different ways. 

This deep level of sadness can be caused by a number of different things including stress, fear, loneliness, guilt, and anger. David wrote his sadness came from unconfessed sin, leading to a groaning in his soul and a loss of strength (Ps 38).  God used sadness to get Nehemiah’s attention to do his work (Neh 1 and 2).  Job experienced financial, personal, and relational losses that led him to curse the day he had been born (Job 1-3).  Elijah was so sad after a great victory that he wanted to die ( 1 Kings 19:4).

How do we know when our sadness has moved from a simple sadness to a more concerning depth?  Scripture tells us many symptoms to watch for.  Psalm 102 describes David’s battle with this.  “Let my cry come to You.”  He write of feeling stricken physically and described losing meaning and purpose in his life: “My days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned like a hearth.  My heart is stricken and withered like grass.”  (102:3-4).  He lost his appetite: “I forget to eat my bread.” (102:4).  He felt isolated and rejected:  “I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. “ (102:6).  He couldn’t sleep: “I lie awake.” (102:7).  He had frequent crying spells:  “I have eaten ashes for bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.” (102:9). 

Elijah demonstrated both healthy and unhealthy responses to sadness (1 Kings 19).  After the great victory on Mount Carmel, his life was threatened and he became afraid.  He focused on the situation instead of focusing on God.  His fear eventually became so intense, he ran away, isolated himself, and prayed he would die.  A summary of his behavior can be described as the HALT syndrome – a very vulnerable place for anyone to be.  At his most sad state, he was:       

·         Hungry – He stopped eating

·         Angry – he was mad at God for not caring about him

·         Lonely – He left his servant and traveled alone

·         Tired – He collapsed into sleep

God counteracted this syndrome in Elijah’s life at every level.  He responded by providing food for Elijah.  An angel touched Elijah, reminding him he was not alone.  Two times God encouraged Elijah to regain his strength by eating, drinking, and resting.  God brought him out of the HALT syndrome, which enabled Elijah to listen and obey.

This story reminds me of the importance of having a real and personal relationship with God .  When I’m sad, I can feel like running away just like Elijah.  I have to avoid isolating myself, tempting as that may be at times.  I have to remember that, no matter how hopeless I might feel at the moment, God is ready to help and all I have to do is accept that help.  I need to remember to listen to God.  That is where I find my strength and encouragement.  That is where I find the ability to cope with life’s tribulations and that is where I find my hope. 

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Valley of Sadness

  1. Lynn says:

    Sandy, I have been checking in here from time to time and feel concern for you, sister. Sending prayers your way this Lord’s day.

  2. RichardD says:

    Sandy, my friend. I have been checking here regularly as well and you have been in my prayers daily for the past few weeks. I was not sure how to respond; I’m not the most eloquent person in the world. But Lynn has stated it perfectly. You are our sister. You are our friend. You are in our prayers.

  3. Sandy says:

    Lynn and Richard,

    Thank you my friends. I appreciate your prayers and kind words. I’m doing okay. It’s just been a hard month or so. Miss seeing you both around.

  4. RichardD says:

    Sandy – I just read this tonight and thought I should share it with you:

    The Value of Adversity (From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis)

    It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root himself so firmly in God that he will not need the consolations of men. When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted, and tormented by evil thoughts, he realizes clearly that his greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good. Saddened by his miseries and sufferings, he laments and prays. He wearies of living longer and wishes for death that he might be dissolved and be with Christ. Then he understands fully that perfect security and complete peace cannot be found on earth.

  5. Sandy says:

    Richard,

    Thanks, friend.

  6. Lynn says:

    Sandy, has the pain from the accident let up some?

  7. Sandy says:

    Lynn,

    I saw the doctor yesterday. The ribs and sternum are healing but slowly. I guess, every time I move or even breathe, they move slightly and so are slower knitting together, but will be healed in about 6-8 weeks longer. I’ve also developed pleurisy which the doctor says will hurt for about 4-6 months. I’m working full time now and the pain has eased some but unfortunately it will be a while before I’m 100%. I’m finding Motrin is a wonder drug. 🙂 Thanks for asking. I hope all is well at your home.

  8. Brandi says:

    “The Valley of Sadness”…oh, I can so relate…I have visited this place many times myselt…some trips there have been longer than others…I just pray that I do not ever take up permanent residence there! 🙂

    This post reminded me, for some reason, of a wonderful book that I have read…”Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard. I could so relate to the main character…”Little Miss Much Afraid”… 🙂 And this beautiful allergory gave me new insight into myself…and my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. Highly recommend it!

    Sandy, so thankful that you are “back” blogging…and that you are healing from your injurys…I have heard that pleurisy is extremely painful…you are in my prayers!

    Blessings,
    Brandi <

  9. Lynn says:

    Thinking of you today. Also praying.

  10. RichardD says:

    Sandy – Still praying, my friend.

  11. Sandy says:

    Thank you, Richard

  12. tiro says:

    I was looking for an update. I do hope you are feeling more mobile now. As one who is 3 years into the results of a fall, I do understand some of the things you might be going through. It does get better.

    hugs,
    TL

  13. Jen S. says:

    Excellent article, thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s