3 Reasons God Is Not Taking Away Your Sadness

How to Thrive in Christ Even When Sad

Ecclesiastes 3:4

As every Christian knows, even though we have put our faith in God and are following Jesus, this does not mean we will now experience perfect joy on earth with zero problems. In fact, sometimes we can be in a prolonged season of painful sadness. But if God loves us and we love him, why is he allowing this sadness to continue? Why doesn’t he just take the sadness away?

In this article we will discuss 3 possible reasons God is not taking your sadness away.

1. God Will Allow the Sadness to Remain If Your Time of Healthy Grieving Is Not Over

All sadness is not the same. The word “sadness” is kind of “catch-all” phrase that can mean many different things depending on who is saying it and why they are saying it. For example, a clinical depression compared to watching a movie that had a tragic ending are too very different things even though people might use the word “sad” to express how they feel in both situations. So some sadness is good and some sadness is unhealthy.

One healthy form of sadness can come in times of grieving. Grieving is a natural response that God created our hearts to have when we have lost something meaningful to us. While grieving can transform into an unhealthy season of depression if we never allow ourselves to move forward with the Lord, I think the greater temptation for most people is to rush their season of grieving as they try to move on too fast when something sad happens to them. Ironically, if we try to move on without properly grieving our loss, we will actually prolong our season of sadness.

It’s kind of like ignoring a cut on your body. If you act like that cut is not there, you will make it harder for that wound to form a scab and then heal. You will keep bagging it against things and reopening the gash if you pretend like it does not exist, thus prolonging the healing process.

Likewise, when your heart is wounded, you need a season of grieving so you can give yourself the extra care, tenderness, and time that you need to heal with the Lord. If you rush your season of grieving, you will keep reopening that wound because you will be testing it before it had enough time to scar-up and heal properly. For as Ecclesiastes 3:4 states, there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Sometimes the reasons we are not experiencing times of laughter and dancing is because we have not fully embraced our times of weeping and mourning. So one reason God may be allowing your sadness to remain is because he wants you to slow down and recognize that you are still wounded and in need of healing.

2. God Will Allow the Sadness to Remain If You Are Still Clinging to Secret Sins

We live in a day and age where many people feel like it is rude and judgmental to talk about sin. Our culture likes to hear about how much God loves them but they don’t want to hear how much a holy God hates sin. But God does not express his love for us by turning a blind eye to the secret sins in our lives. Rather, in love, God will give you a healthy conviction and sadness about any sin in your life because he loves you too much to pretend like you are not sinning. For in Lamentations 2:13-14 (NIV) it states: 

Your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you? The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.”

Here we can see that God shows his love by addressing our sins head on. God is light, and in him there is not darkness at all (1 John 1:5). If we want to live with God, we must live in the light. And sometimes the way God leads out of the darkness and into the light is by giving us an unbearable sadness which is stemming from our secret sins. The sooner we repent and choose to live in the light by his grace and mercy found through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the sooner we can escape this sadness and live with the joy of God’s forgiveness and transformation.

3. God May Be Allowing the Sadness to Remain Because It Is Needed to Fulfill Your Calling

As we said at the beginning, there are different forms of sadness, some of which are unhealthy and some of which are healthy. One positive way God uses sadness in the lives of his people is when he uses it to motivate us to help others in need.

To look out over a lost and hurting world and feel no sadness is not possible if you have the love of God in your heart. God is supremely happy within himself, but just as Jesus wept when he saw people weeping over Lazarus’ dead body in John 11, God calls us to have a healthy sadness for those we are called to serve. Notice how Paul felt about Israel in Romans 9:1-3. He states:

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”

Paul doesn’t literally mean that he would forsake God for the sake of lost people, rather, he is expressing the attitude that Christ displayed on the cross – the willingness to suffer to save the lost. God uses sadness to call us to service. One way you will be able to find your calling in life is to look at what breaks your heart the most.

So one reason God may be allowing a deep sadness in your heart is so that it will motivate you to take huge leaps of faith in your radical service for those in great need.