Be gracious to me, Lord, because I am in distress; my eyes are worn out from angry sorrow—my whole being as well...But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” (Psalm 31:9,14)
We’ve all felt it at one point or another: distress, anger, or sorrow that wears us out.
Distress, anger, or sorrow changes us; at least, what we do with it changes us. When we sit in it, it becomes attached to us. It begins to define us. Oddly, we might even begin to get comfortable with it, as if we can’t imagine our lives without it.
But when we trust God through it, we let His perspective ease our own. His truth ebbs into our experiences. We claim His authority and trust Him to guide our next steps, no matter how blinded by darkness and confusion we might be.
No matter what we experience, we can claim, “You are my God,” then trust Him.
Do not be far from me, because distress is near and there is no one to help. (Psalm 22:11)
Sometimes, distress feels nearer than help. It might not be reality but it might be what we experience. But even when we feel close to distress and isolated from anyone who can or will help, we can ask God to be near. We often ask Him to take our distress away, assuming that will always be His choice or priority if we are close to Him and He is close to us, but that isn’t true. Sometimes, He is near among the distress. We can be close to and surrounded by both at the same time.
Despite what we thought when we were young and our parents forced us to say “I’m sorry” to our siblings, saying “I’m sorry” is easy compared to actually feeling and being sorrowful.
The two are different. Sorry relates to an action. We convey we are sorry for something we did or didn’t do and how it impacted the person. Being sorrowful is more about our process of it, our expression of it, and what it motivates us to convey to someone else. We’re grieved, distressed, or saddened.
Sorry might reflect someone’s sorrow, but it might also be an attempt to patch something. Sorrow takes the healing deeper, not just in the one receiving it but also in the person who extends it.
Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. (2 Corinthians 7:9)
Sorrow is productive. It leads somewhere. It leads through repentance to growth, because repentance is always a productive change. Sorrow doesn’t ever get us stuck. Sorrow seeks to change what is in us and how we impact others. It’s not destructive, wallowing, or selfish…ever.
We toss around “I’m sorry” as if it’s an easy step back, erasing whatever we’ve done, but it’s not going back at all. It’s moving forward in healing, change, and growth. It often takes time, but we’re willing to invest and wait over time so that healing and change is authentic and lasting. Sorrow is an investment to build on solid ground. It’s not an easy process, but it’s well worth the time and effort.
How do you need to step into and through sorrow with God, yourself, and others?