Yes, God uses your sadness. I have found there is a joy of the Lord and a sadness of God as well.
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart” (Nehemiah 2:1-2).
When your heart is broken because you know that the purposes of God are subverted – with friends, family, or nation – that burden leads to sadness.
A sadness that God can use.
Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” (Nehemiah 2:3)
In the time of Nehemiah, you didn’t show emotion or make requests to the king without the threat of your own death sentence. Yet, Nehemiah, the cupbearer of the king, knowing the desperate situation in Jerusalem, couldn’t hide his sadness.
Nehemiah’s frustration began when he heard a report about the remnant of Israelites still living close to Jerusalem.
I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire” (Nehemiah 1:2-3).
For such a time as this is a re-occurring theme in the Old Testament. The phrase was literally used by Mordecai to Queen Esther when the Jews were threatened. After Mordecai asked her to appeal to the King for the safety of the Jews, he said to her:
And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)
Queen Esther risked her life to approach the king.
The sadness of the Lord is an overwhelming desire to help God’s purposes. God raised up Esther and Nehemiah and you – as there is a “such a time as this” in your life too.
There is death with the sadness of the Lord or at least the risk of death.
To stand for righteousness and God’s Kingdom when the world and sometimes your best friends disagree could be loss of relationships and even safety.
Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So, I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it” (Nehemiah 2:4-5).
Sadness comes after conviction and before action. Nehemiah asked to be sent to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls. Fearfully, Queen Esther approached the king too.
The Jews were saved and the walls and gates of Jerusalem were rebuilt.
God used sadness.
What are you sad about? Is it something that needs to be rebuilt? Don’t let fear dictate your response to God-sent sadness, as the fear will only get worse.
AKA – Jonah and the whale story!
Relief will come through prayer, courage, and obedience.
For such a time as this!
(Editor’s Note: In case you missed it, yesterday was my birthday!)