How to Manage Sorrow
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
In yesterday’s message, based on Philippians 4:13, we learned how Christ gives us strength that leads to contentment as we undergo life’s painful trials. Today, our focus text deals with the most severe of all human experiences, sorrow.
Sorrow is a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune. Grief is sorrow at its worst, deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.
Do you recall the first time you experienced sorrow? For me, it was when my Uncle Buddy died. I was seven at the time. My mother was so upset she required medical attention. And my grandmother remained on the sofa for days crying and looking at Buddy’s school pictures. In fact, that incident made such an impression on me I wrote a novel about it, Farewell PFC Polk: The End of a Nightmare.
Sorrow is part of the human experience. All of us have and will go through it. None of us are exempt.
My granddaughter has a boyfriend. It’s a middle school romance, her first. They call it “going out” these days. I asked her where they went and she said, “nowhere.” Today, it’s puppy love, nothing more than a touch of infatuation. But one day, hopefully never, she will probably have her heart broken.
As a pastor and parent, I’ve seen what a broken heart from a breakup can do. It crushes, robs hope, and makes the victim physically ill.
High hopes and the things we value most, taken away from us, and never to return = sorrow. Whether expected or unexpected, these incidents slam us in the gut and take us out of the game.
In the 80s, I worked at a radio station in Houston, Texas. One day, an unexpected staff meeting was announced at which the on-air staff was fired. “We’re going in a different direction, changing formats to News-Talk,” we were told.
How could we make our house payments? How could we survive? Where and how could I find another job? I have a wife and a child to take care of.
When I arrived home, my wife was visiting with a friend. I recall sitting in a living room chair: wiped out, crushed, humiliated, embarrassed, and frightened. And in tears, I prayed, poured out my heart to God, and begged Him to help us.
His answer didn’t come immediately. In fact, it was slow to come. Six months to be exact… a job in Birmingham, Alabama making a fraction of my Houston income. It took several years for us to recover from that setback, but in time, God restored us and gave us something better.
Back to our focus text. “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” That devastating experience in Houston taught me that sorrow doesn’t last forever. It just seems like it while you’re going through the fire. But God’s word is everlasting, true, and completely reliable. Like in that great hymn, Standing On the Promises, that’s how you manage sorrow.
Study God’s word. Find what He has to say about your dilemma. Then pray it back to Him. Take God at His word. He will strengthen you to weather the storm, renew your hope, teach you contentment, mature you in the faith, and deliver you safely to the other side.
For more on this topic, check out this article: When You Need Wise Counsel
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.