The Beauty Of Sorrow


(This Post was written in the fall of 2014)

“One day on my way to Damascus, armed as always with papers from the high priests authorizing my action, right in the middle of the day a blaze of light, light outshining the sun, poured out of the sky on me and my companions. Oh, King, it was so bright! We fell flat on our faces. Then I heard a voice in Hebrew: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me? Why do you insist on going against the grain?’

“I said, ‘Who are you, Master?’ “The voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down like an animal. But now, up on your feet—I have a job for you. I’ve handpicked you to be a servant and witness to what’s happened today, and to what I am going to show you.

“‘I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me.’ (Acts 26:12-18 MSG)

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining, Behind the clouds the sun is shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all; into each life some rain must fall, -- Some days must be dark and dreary. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I know, I know let’s be a little more upbeat here Mark. I get it, however, the sun doesn’t shine every day but the lack of light is not what makes a day bad. Our outlook on life can shine light into our darkest days.  I have found that in my darkness is when God’s light shines the brightest. I’m feeling rather poetic in my writing today.

We must not curse the overcast skies,

For it’s often in the darkness where our answer lies.

So into darkness be willing to trod,

Knowing that you can look to the light of God.


Make no apology for this cloudy place,

Nothing you’ve done is greater than His grace.

Move on, move forward trusting in the One,

Soon the clouds will give way to the light of the Son.


Just remember these days as you go,

For it’s in these dingy times where we really grow.

This won’t be the last such ominous day,

So never forget what you’ve learned as you go on your way.

If I’m not anchored to truth I will find myself adrift and carried by lies, even my own. I think we all have the brainpower to create and design belief systems that are representative of our capacity to cope in a moment of crisis. In other words if I can convince myself that my behavior is not hurting myself or others it makes it easier for me to continue to behave in ways that satisfy my personal desires but may be damaging to my future.

Looking back on my past I’m still exploring how I followed the path that I followed to get me to where I am today. I’m sure that I will spend a lifetime learning from this teaching moment; at least I hope that I do. I don’t want to use my sin as a nightstick, continually beating myself up. That’s just not productive. I do, however, feel that deep introspection will provide future protection for me.

I realized today that I have never given myself to deep thoughts concerning the unanswered questions of life that have long been hidden in my soul. I suppose that I have thought deeply about some things in life but I’ve never had the courage to investigate some of the hurts that have revealed themselves to me over these past seven months. I always thought investing seemingly inordinate amounts of time investigating my hurts would mean that I was weak and I shouldn’t feel the things that I was feeling. I treated pain and sorrow as enemies of the good life that I wanted to live. Today I have come to believe that pain and sorrow are both my friends; they challenge me and make me better.

I now see that it doesn't make us weak when we address our weaknesses, or when acknowledge them to others. The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who are willing to acknowledge weakness with us. They love without conditions, serve without expectations of reciprocity and pray for us without ceasing.  

The fact is that pain and sorrow help us feel empathy for others. They give us the courage to weep with those who weep.  I’m having an “emo” day today because one of the sweetest young ladies that I know was just admitted to a rehab program. I feel so burdened for her today because I know the work that she is going to have to go through to become who she wants to become.

I wish I could just hug her and cry with her. I wish that I could look her in the eyes today and assure her that she will experience the healing and wholeness that she so desires. I love her like one of my own children. I would have never allowed myself to have these feelings in years past; these feelings were just too painful to bear. But I now know that my feelings will drive me to pray for her and reach out to her. That’s the beauty of pain and sorrow, they connect us to others.

I am thankful today for the wildernesses that we all encounter in life. Life’s challenges come to us without invitation; they confront our diffidence and apathy without apology. They are a reminder that sorrow cannot be ignored nor should it be. In fact it’s often in struggles and sorrows that we find our greatest friends and committed allies. 

Sorrow knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys. -Lamartine

(Mat 26:37-38 NIV)  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. {38} Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

The strongest Man to ever walk the earth openly shared His soul with three followers, His “subordinates”. This is unheard of in today’s leadership culture. There were no “high-fives” or “chest bumps”  at this gathering. I wonder how Peter, James and John felt in that moment? How do you comfort the Son of God? By simply doing what He asked of you? “Keep watch with me”. Jesus just asked for them to empathize with what he was feeling during this dark hour. He wasn’t looking to be rescued or pumped up.

People may not remember what we said to them but they will always remember how we made them feel.

I read the following quote not too long ago. “If you are not willing to go through the tough times with me then don’t expect to be with me in the good times.”  Fair weather friends are a dime a dozen. The number of friends that we have may make us feel popular, however, popularity is fleeting. It’s not the number of friends that makes life wonderful, it’s the quality of friends. It’s been said that true friends are those who walk into our lives when everyone else walks out.  

How will I know which kind of friend is which? Simple. Based on the above thoughts, the people who walk into my life and those who remain in my life during times of suffering are quality friends. This season of life has caused me to slow down and enjoy the wonderful friendships that I have. 

So don’t run and don’t hurry.

Your fate can wait.

Don’t fret and don’t scurry,

It’s never too late.


This life that we share is a gift from above,

To be used to express to others our unwavering love.

So in your great sorrow please don’t forget,

That a life given to love leaves know regret.