When Sorrow Overtakes Joy



This is a lonely world. At times, when our hearts are burdened with life issues, social issues and just plain issues, we find it difficult to find someone who wants to listen. Everyone seems to have a story that they want to tell. It’s their story, and they’re stickin’ to it.

I found myself in a pity party right after a nice big blessing.  I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard for me to stay focused on God’s favor and immediately let myself plunge right into frustration over a circumstance that is beyond my control.

What I believe is that it’s not that I’m not appreciative of the blessings of favor.  It is that I have allowed myself to dwell in a lonely place despite them.  I have isolated myself from all people because some people disappointed me.

It’s easy to get distracted by noise. Every day we hear bad news-sometimes things we cannot imagine having to bear and yet-we are amid some untold suffering.

The world is wired to focus on suffering and not joy. All one must do is turn on the evening news. And because of that negative wiring, we can become overcome by the negative at the expense of the positive. This is not to say that we should put our heads in the sand and ignore the tragedies that intrude into our lives. What I am saying is that during times of sadness, loneliness, disappointment, and fear-we must allow joy to rule our hearts despite all.

One way to allow joy to rule is to allow the people that love us into our personal space at the exact moment we want to isolate ourselves. Earlier I said it’s hard to find someone who’ll listen. But it is not impossible. If we allow ourselves the assumption that nobody cares about our feelings, then we have believed a lie.

Loneliness is a condition that must be aggressively attacked. It keeps us from feeling joy and makes it easier for the burdens of this world to isolate us and make us vulnerable. Loneliness cannot be healed from outside, but must start from within.

I had to determine to fight my isolation. I prayed and asked for peace. Then I found one person to listen and that one person gave me a new perspective. God will always send a listening ear if we have the desire to find one.

Another way to allow joy to rule is to help others who have lost their own joy. Look around. There are many people who are discouraged, lost, angry, and fearful. A word of encouragement, a smile, or even a listening ear-these are all free gifts that you can give, even if you feel you have nothing of value. Watch what happens when you forget yourself for a minute and help another soul. Before you know it, your heart rate will slow down, peace will begin to enter your heart, and there it is-a smile on your lips!

And one final thought. Don’t let loneliness and discouragement keep you from enjoying the blessings of life, or the gifts that God has given you the favor to receive. Allow yourself to enjoy them. Blessings are God’s comfort to the weary heart. He desires for us to receive them with gladness because He knows how difficult our journeys on earth will be.

Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

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3 thoughts on “When Sorrow Overtakes Joy”

      1. Hang in there…

        Read the psalms… It is really amazing how actually most of them sing the blues really. And taking your blues to God is the right place to take them. He is listening.

        My personal favorite is Psalm 88. It is called THE PSALM OF NO HOPE. Go read it and pray with it. I think you will find that no matter how rotten things get, that psalmist had it worse (there are exceptions to this, but they are rare). And that tells me this much at least: God hears those prayers too. And this one, this really dark, self-absorbed, even angry and bitter prayer was good enough to make it into the Bible.

        And then once you have read it and meditated on it a day or two, go read it again. Only this time when the Psalmist asks those shrill questions of God (“Will you work wonders for the dead? Will the shades rise to praise thee???) Yeah, they aren’t NICE questions, they are shrill and bitter and have the expectation that even God should be shamed by them. But a 1000 years after that psalmist wrote those words – long after he (or she) was put in the grave – Jesus quietly came out of his tomb and said YES to them all!

        I have a deal with God. When the great resurrection of all the dead comes in the final Judgment. I have asked God to take me to that grave. I want to see the look on that psalmists face when he (or she) wakes up from the dead and hears Jesus say “YES” to those tough questions for the first time! I want to see that. I want to know that surprise and joy.

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