Selfish with Sadness

June 11, 2024

“…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7, NIV).


When my daughter was younger, she went through a difficult time in her life, with hard times weighing her down. She became more isolated, skipping family celebrations, no longer coming regularly to church. Most of her days were curled up on the couch alone. She’s not normally a person who steals joy from the world but one who sprinkles it wherever she goes. After her withdrawal had lasted a few months, I told her, “You know that this world is not the same without you. One of the main reasons God created you was the joy you bring to other people. You need to come out of your isolation and get back to doing that. Don’t be selfish with your sadness.”


Sometimes we need to listen to our own advice. I’m good now, but there are times for all of us where life happens and we do the wounded dog thing, isolating ourselves until the pain goes away, focusing on ourselves intensely while the world passes by. Instead of using our sufferings to accomplish God’s purpose, we become selfish with our sadness.


As my life goal is to walk God’s pathway for God’s purpose, I find that the struggle to achieve that goal is often not the boulder that obstructs my path, but my own emotions that cause me to stop or to veer in my own direction. When my emotions are high, I quit trusting and walk my own way; when low, I just stop and stall.


Jesus was a “man of sorrows.” He poured his life into the 12 he loved, and they all deserted him at the end. Even His Father turned His face away. But Christ did not waste His sadness. He handed it to the Father and saved the world.


God’s love and purpose can penetrate every room of our lives, including the dark ones, just as they did when Christ stumbled on the Via Dolorosa. That which causes our pain, God can use for His glory. That which has changed us, God can use to change the world. I have seen it in so many faithful lives. I need to learn it for myself.


Though life is good for me now, it will not always be so. I would never minimize anyone else’s suffering or deny the disease of depression that places so many in chains; but, as much as I can “through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), I hope in times of future sorrow, to not grip tightly my sadness, but offer it instead to God to use for His glory, as did Christ on the cross. It is the Master who calls me to join Him there, “Don’t be selfish with your sadness. Hand it to me. I will reshape and use it to glorify my Name.”


Dear Father,

Let me walk with Jesus. Let me offer every sadness to use for your glory.


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