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Spiritual ­Sorrow

Emotional grief and spiritual sorrow are so alike that we may not realize the difference. In the spiritual reaction phase, this sorrow is the grief experienced when our faith is tried and our trust in the Lord is tested during affliction and loss. We experience spiritual sorrow when we cannot comprehend why a loving God could permit such awful things to happen and/or go on for so long. We pray for relief, but the pain or problem grows worse. We question why God ­doesn’t intervene, why He ­doesn’t seem to answer when we ­call.

Some christians, however, disapprove of questioning God or expressing spiritual sorrow. They “view crying over loss as a lack of faith or trust, or lack of hope. They seem to maintain that religious faith and tears are incompatible; that a faith in God and belief in life after death make crying and grieving quite inappropriate. There is a subtle but strong suggestion that if grievers experience such feelings coming on, they would be wise to suppress them and thus witness to the strength of their ­faith.”8

Scripture is filled with examples of godly people expressing spiritual sorrow. Can you relate to these?

Job cried out, “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household.” “My face is red with weeping, deep shadows ring my eyes” (Job 16:7, ­16).

Have you felt spiritually confused and off balance? “My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me” (Ps. 44:15 ­kjv).

Do you wonder if God even hears? David cried, “‘Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping’” (Ps. ­39:12).

Do you feel weak? David wept, “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief” (Ps. ­31:9).

Have you suffered anguish? “My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak” (Ps. 31:10).

Have you been overcome by a broken heart? “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Ps. ­13:2).

Do you think God is punishing you? “The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me” (Job 6:4). Job didn’t realize that it ­wasn’t God harming him but Satan who had stirred up the wicked to attack him, and Satan does the same to ­us.

Finding Comfort in Spiritual ­Sorrow

If we are to maintain our faith, we need to realize that the Lord understands our questioning hearts and cares about our spiritual sorrow. Jesus, David, Esther, Jeremiah, Job, Naomi, and the apostle Paul, among others, suffered spiritual grief. These men and women demonstrate that it is possible to come through trials and emerge with stronger ­faith.

Jesus was acquainted with distresses, sicknesses, sorrows, and weaknesses, and He knows and cares about ours.

When His friend Lazarus died, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus was deeply moved with compassion and troubled in heart. Yes, Jesus wept, and those are two of the most comforting words in Scripture. If He mourned for His friend, does He not care about our tears?

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” (Isa. 53:3a, 4a).

We have this assurance and comfort that the Lord has taken our pain upon Himself. We are loved, and He will guide and sustain us as we work through our spiritual questioning. He understands our doubting trust in Him.

The Lord is always available to hear our deepest expressions of grief and most anguished questions. He is our constant caregiver and our unfailing support. No matter how shattered we feel by our losses, we can find comfort in the faithfulness of the ­Lord.


“Listen to my cry for help, O God. Pay attention to my prayer.” “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within.” “Have pity on me! O Lord, be my helper!” “O God, do not remain silent. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. Do not keep quiet, O God.” “O Lord, listen to my prayer. Open your ears to hear my urgent requests. Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.” “I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.” (Ps. 61:1 god’s word; Lam. 2:11a; Ps. 30:10b god’s word; Ps. 83:1 god’s word; Ps. 143:1 god’s word; Ps. 17:6 not ­paraphrased)

Orcutt Hills Sunset, October 22, 2016