What does the Bible say about sadness?
Sadness is a common human feeling. It’s normal to feel sad and sorrow about losing a loved one or going through a hard season in your life. As a Christian, you may wonder what God’s Word says about sadness. Does the Bible talk about sadness and how to deal with it?
Christian quotes about sadness
“He knows every hurt and every sting. He has walked the suffering. He knows.”
“Fits of depression come over the most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.” Charles Spurgeon
“Tears are prayers too. They travel to God when we can’t speak.”
Is being sad a sin?
Humans are emotional beings. You feel happiness, fear, anger and joy. As a Christian, it’s difficult to understand how to navigate your emotions in conjunction with your spiritual life. Feelings aren’t sinful, but how you deal with them is important. That’s where the struggle is for believers. How to have heartfelt emotions about a difficult situation, yet trust God at the same time? It’s a lifelong learning experience and one that God is fully committed to help you with.
1. John 11:33-35 (ESV) “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.”
2. Romans 8:20-22 (NIV) “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
3. Psalm 42:11 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Does God get sad?
God’s emotions are rooted in His holy nature. His emotions are so complex, they’re far above human ability to understand fully. God has no mood swings. As the Creator, He views the happenings on earth in ways that no created being can. He sees the devastation of sin and sadness. He feels anger and grief, but it’s different from our emotions. That’s not to say that God doesn’t understand our sadness or condemn us for it. He knows all the intricate details of each situation. He sees the effects of sin and sadness we experience from the vantage point of eternity. The Creator of the universe is all knowing and all loving.
- But you, my Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy; you are very patient and full of faithful love. (Psalm 86:15 ESV)
God showed us His love by sending Jesus, to take away the sins of the world. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for you.
4. Psalm 78:40 (ESV) “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert!”
5. Ephesians 4:30 (NIV) “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
6. Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
What does the Bible say about a sad heart?
The Bible uses many words to describe sadness. Some of them include:
- Broken hearted
- Crushed in spirit
- Crying out to God
As you read scripture, look for these words. You may be surprised at how many times God refers to these feelings. This can comfort you to know that He knows your human heart and the difficulties you experience in life.
7. John 14:27 (NASB) “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.”
8. Psalm 34:18 (KJV) “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
9. Psalm 147:3 (NIV) “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
10. Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
11. Psalm 51:17 “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
12. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
13. Proverbs 15:13 “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
God understands when you feel sad
God made you. He knows everything about you. He gave you emotions to help you. They’re tools given to you by God to glorify Him and love others. Your emotions help you pray, sing, talk to God and share the gospel. When you’re sad, you can pour out your heart to God. He will hear you.
- “Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24 ESV)
God compares Himself to a loving Father and expresses how loving and merciful God is to his children.
- “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14 ESV)
- “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:17 ESV)
Scripture tells that our Savior, Jesus Christ, had many sorrows and troubles in His time here on earth. He understands what it’s like to suffer, be rejected, lonely and hated. He had siblings, parents and friends. His world had many of the similar challenges yours does.
14. Isaiah 53:3 (ESV) “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
15. Matthew 26:38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”
16. John 11:34-38 -Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb.
17. Psalm 34:17-20 (NLT) “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. 20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!”
18. Hebrews 4:14-16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
19. Matthew 10:30 “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
20. Psalm 139:1-3 “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”
21. Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
The power of God’s love in your sadness
God’s love is always available for you. All you need to do is cry out to Him. He promises to hear you and help you. God may not answer your prayers in the way or time you want, but He promises to never leave you. He also promises to do good in your life.
22. Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV) “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear, what can man do to me?”
23. Psalm 145:9 (ESV) “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”
24. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
25. Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV) “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
26. Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
27. Psalm 86:15 (KJV) “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
28. Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Dealing with sadness
If you’re feeling sad, cry out to God. At the same time, don’t let your emotions control you. Find ways to look upward. Try to find God’s goodness even in the midst of a difficult situation. Find things to be grateful for and look for the glimmers of light in your darkness. It could be helpful to keep a journal of the blessings you notice. Or write out verses that seem especially meaningful to you as you walk through a hard time of loss. The book of psalms is a wonderful place to find comfort and hope when you’re dealing with sadness. Here are some verses to study.
- If you’re grieving – “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief.” (Psalm 31:9 ESV)
- If you need help – “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” (Psalm 30:10 ESV)
- If you feel weak – “Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant.” (Psalm 86:16 ESV)
- If you need healing – “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord. (Psalm 6:2 ESV)
- If you feel surrounded – “Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my affliction from those who hate me. (Psalm 9:13 ESV)
29. Psalm 31:9 “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.”
30. Psalm 30:10 “Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!”
31. Psalm 9:13 “Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death.”
32. Psalm 68:35 “O God, You are awesome in Your sanctuary; the God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!”
33. Psalm 86:16 “Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.”
34. Psalm 42:11 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
35. Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
36. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
37. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any afflict.”
Praying against sadness
You can’t pray that you’ll never be sad, but you can find ways to cry out to God in the midst of your sadness. King David who wrote many of the psalms gave us a great example of how to cry out to God in faith.
- Psalm 86
- Psalm 77
- Psalm 13
- Psalm 40
- Psalm 69
You may struggle with sadness. Even when you don’t feel like praying or reading Scripture, try to read a little every day. Even a few paragraphs or a psalm can help you. Talk to other Christians and ask them to pray for you. Find ways to look upward in faith to God. Look for small blessings, or things you can be grateful for even during a difficult time. There is always something to be thankful for.
38. Psalm 4:1 “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved my distress; show me grace and hear my prayer.”
39. Psalm 27:9 “Hide not Your face from me, nor turn away Your servant in anger. You have been my helper; do not leave me or forsake me, O God of my salvation.”
40. Psalm 54:4 “Surely God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my soul.”
41. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
42. 1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
43. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
Guard your thought life
If you’re on social media regularly, you’re constantly bombarded with information. It’s a brain overload of financial advice, health tips, fashion trends, new technology, celebrity news and politics. Much of what you receive is worthless. It doesn’t affect your daily life. A small portion may be helpful or necessary to know. The downside of so much information is that it affects your mind and heart. Much of what you read or hear is sensationalized, exaggerated or twisted truth to grab readers’ attention. The outcome is that you feel worried, fearful or sad about what you hear. If you find this is you, it may be time to take action. Here are some things to keep in mind for guarding your heart and social media.
- Remember, you belong to Christ. You want to honor and glorify Him in the things you watch and listen to. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if Jesus returned right at this moment, would what you’re watching or listening bring glory to Him? Would it be honoring a holy God?
- Remember, the people who post on social media differ from you. Their goal may not be to honor God.
- Remember, you’re not missing out if you don’t get the latest information. Good chance your life won’t be affected at all by trends in fashion or the latest gossip about a celebrity. Find your joy and fulfillment in God and His people.
- Remember, you must be deliberate. Don’t give in to watching things you know won’t glorify God.
- Remember to renew your mind with God’s word, the Bible. Take some time every day to read scripture and pray. Keep your relationship with Christ foremost.
Let this verse be your guide. Finally, brothers,(and sisters) whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8 ESV)
44. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
45. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
46. Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
47. Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV) “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
God will never leave you
The Bible has many verses where God reminds His followers of His constant care and devotion to watch over them. Here are just a few to help you find comfort when you’re feeling sad and lonely.
48. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
49. Deuteronomy 4:31 “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”
50. 1 Chronicles 28:20 “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”
51. Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
52. Matthew 28:20 “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
53. Joshua 1:5 “No one will be able to oppose you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not desert you nor abandon you.”
54. John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Examples of sadness in the Bible
Out of all the books in the Bible, the book of Psalms is where you see sadness and despair clearly displayed. Many of the psalms are penned by King David, who wrote honestly about his sadness, fear and despair. Psalms 13 is a great example of King David pouring out his heart to God.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Notice the words he uses to describe how he feels:
- He feels forgotten
- He feels like God’s hiding his face (which in that time meant God’s goodness)
- He feels sorrow in his heart 24/7
- He feels like he his enemies are mocking him
- These people are hoping he’ll fall.
But also notice how in the last four lines, the psalmist turns his gaze upwards. It’s almost as if he’s reminding himself about who God is despite how he feels. He says:
- He will continue to trust God’s steadfast love
- His heart is going to rejoice in God’s salvation (there’s that eternal perspective)
- He’s going to sing to the Lord
- He remembers how kind God has been to him
55. Nehemiah 2:2 “so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid.”
56. Luke 18:23 “When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.”
57. Genesis 40:7 “So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”
58. John 16:6 “Instead, your hearts are filled with sorrow because I have told you these things.”
59. Luke 24:17 “He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.”
60. Jeremiah 20:14-18 “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! 15 Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, “A child is born to you—a son!” 16 May that man be like the towns the Lord overthrew without pity. May he hear wailing in the morning, a battle cry at noon. 17 For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever. 18 Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?”
61. Mark 14:34-36 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Your emotions are a wonderful gift from God to help you relate to Him and to others. Sadness and sorrow are common human emotions. Because God is your creator, He knows everything about you. Draw closer to Him and ask Him for help to live with your feelings of sadness in a God glorifying way.