Tag Archives: sorrow

Targeting Sorrow

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sorrow as “deep distress, sadness, or regret, especially for the loss of someone or something loved.” ¹

Admit it: we all face sorrow at one time or another.

Sorrow fills our hearts at different times and under different circumstances throughout our lives. We may be distressed over a divorce, disappointed we didn’t get accepted into the college we desired, or regretful because of a poor decision.

King David Faced Sorrow

Old Testament King David experienced both joy and sorrow.

Joy filled his heart when he dedicated and devoted his life to God. Furthermore, on the battlefield, David’s military power and strength exceeded that of all other leaders, earning him the admiration of his God-given abilities and gifts.

However, at other times, David resembled a godforsaken failure. As a child, David lived in obscurity compared to his older brothers. Later in life, though, he defeated Goliath! In his youth, he was constantly running away from King Saul because Saul became jealous of David’s success. As an adult, he lived with harsh consequences due to his sexual lust for (and relationship with) Bathsheba and then his subsequent murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah.

As to be expected, David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba caused him extreme grief and undue sorrow.

David’s Success Plummets

David, who once held a familial relationship with King Saul, escaped from Saul’s horrific wrath by reducing himself to hiding in a cave. David’s psychic characterized his enemies as snarling dogs waiting to attack. All the while knowing that his refuge was in the Lord. David acknowledges his disdain for his enemies in Psalm 59:13-15, where he writes:

13 Destroy them in wrath, destroy them that they may be no more;
That men may know that God rules in Jacob
To the ends of the earth. Selah.
14 They return at evening, they howl like a dog,
And go around the city.
15 They wander about for food
And growl if they are not satisfied.

We can glimpse more clearly the heart of David as he pleas for God’s help in Psalm 56.

¹ Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me.

2 My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.

3 When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.

4 In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?

5 All day long they distort my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.

6 They attack, they lurk,
They watch my steps,
As they have waited to take my life.

7 Because of wickedness, cast them forth,
In anger put down the peoples, O God!

8 You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?

9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me . . .

13 For You have delivered my soul from death,
Indeed my feet from stumbling,
So that I may walk before God
In the light of the living. (Psalm 56:1-9;13)

David’s pure and unadulterated prayer to God exposed his dilemma, pleas and desires.

  • His dilemma: He tells God His foes were fighting him (Psalm 56:1-2);
  • His plea: He asks God to put his tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8) and;
  • His desire: He asks God to be gracious to him and to cast his enemies forth, so he may walk before God. Psalm 56:1, 7, 10.

David approached God in confidence—all the while knowing that God knew the true state of his circumstances and heart.

God knows the true state of our hearts as well. When the walls are closing in around us and when we cry out to the Lord, the prudent thing to do is to follow David’s example by sharing everything that is on our heart with Him. At many times, our thoughts and desires are meant only to be expressed to God. Some say, “Why should we tell God? He already knows everything.” But, when we share our inner thoughts with Him, He is pleased to see us entrusting our lives to Him in prayer and conversation.

Only God knows the true state of our hearts—not the person sitting next to you, your parents, or your spouse.

What Thoughts Should Fill Our Mind When We Are Sorrowful?

Deal With Sorrow

We all experience sorrow at some point in our lives: the death of a parent, a divorce, an unfulfilled desire, a jealous spirit. If you haven’t experienced sorrow yet, it will come.

The emotional pain from our circumstances can linger for years or decades. Some carry grief, regret or sorrow their entire lives by ignoring the pain and blocking their sorrow. Be that as it may, blocking our sorrow can cause serious problems, such as suicidal thoughts, hate and physical illnesses.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at the agonizing pain of a broken heart—medically called takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Broken hearts can affect men and women,  and young and old. Doctors now say that having a broken heart is real: it mimics heart attack symptoms and can lead to heart failure. ²

I know it’s real. I experienced it as a young adult due to a boyfriend-girlfriend breakup—although at that time there was not a medical term for what one experiences with undue pressure, stress and sorrow. It took six months to finally release the severe heaviness stirring in my heart. Then decades to release the emotional pain!

Let’s take care not to dismiss the extreme pain many high school students and young adults feel when losing a relationship or any desire of the heart. God knows and cares about all these types of experiences.

We need Him to hold our sorrows and tears so we can move on and be useful to Him, and when we are being used by Him, we will flourish in our Christian walk.

Cry: Tears – Chasing a Rabbit

God loves us so much that He puts our tears in His bottle. Some Hebrew Bible scholars use the word wineskins or containers in place of the word bottle. The opening of a wineskin is so small that liquid can be poured in carefully resulting in very little evaporation. Either way, David asks God to look at his tears of fear and pain. David’s tears were so precious that He preserves each one. He does the same for us.

There are three types of tears: Basal tears, irritant tears, and emotional tears.

Basal tears keep our eyes lubricated. These tears are needed to prevent damage from the sun, air, or debris.

Irritant tears occur when we are hit by the wind, sand or even an onion.

Emotional tears show up in moments of intense feelings; sometimes joy, but more often sorrow. They contain stress hormones.

Our eyes generate tears under all these circumstances. This is one reason that crying is therapeutic when we are under a lot of stress. ³

In Here’s Scientific Evidence That Crying Can by Therapeutic, Anna Almendrala states, “new research shows that while shedding a few tears leads to a dip in mood immediately after the crying jag, about 90 minutes later people report feeling even better than they did before they had reason to cry.” ⁴

In Psalm 56, David was experiencing emotional tears. When we are going through an emotional crisis, our emotional tears pour out and are collected by our Heavenly Father as were David’s tears. Then when God has prepared us, trained us, and is ready to use us, He will use those tears. He will tilt that bottle or wineskin until the tears that you have shed can be used for His glory.

Jesus was not ashamed to shed tears. He wept at the raising of Lazarus. He wept over Jerusalem. And, He wept in agony at Gethsemane.

The Lord is aware of our suffering and sorrow.  Crying is a gift from God, and He wants to bottle up our tears and record them in His book. (Psalm 56:8c)

Remember, Life Happens

Toilets break, dates are broken, jobs are lost, children have life-long illnesses, parents disown their children, young couples encounter infertility, spouses die, malignant tumors appear out of nowhere. I love what my pastor recently said when he said, “anything that can happen to anyone else can happen to us.” So true!

It is vitally important that we know what to do when “life happens”—this includes emotional, mental, physical or spiritual misfortunes. Often times, we see our trials as solely physical, but trials can be emotional, mental, physical, and/or spiritual in nature.

The problem is we insist on running our own lives when we really need to be still and set our sights on God. Sometimes our pain is so deep, we can’t even talk to others about it, but we must talk to God. When life happens and tears fill our eyes, we must remember that God is right there with us as we cry, mourn and seek peace.

Jesus guides believers through life. Unfortunately, sometimes we act like we are “La-Z-Boy believers”,  i.e. too lazy to be still before God; too lazy to read our Bible; too lazy to pray; too lazy to make some Christian friends. Let’s change that today!

In Our Sorrow, God Always Has a Plan For Us

Our Lord deeply desires to give us peace when we encounter sadness and sorrow. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bank on the fact that God knows our future and the future of our family? Well, we can!

Most of us don’t want to go through any circumstances that would refine us to be all God wants us to be. We take our wounds and try to hide them, so the same wounds keep coming up time after time; marriage after marriage; job after job. Then, bitterness sneaks in.

James 1:12 says, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

Folks, life throws us curves.  We need to anticipate the curves. We need to be” pre-prayed up” so we are ready when those curves come speeding toward us. We must learn to trust God always, even when we cannot understand what is happening.  If you are anxious about the future, turn to God. When you are confused, take refuge in Him because He has a plan for our lives.

Look at your afflictions and sorrows as a means God has chosen to refine, purify and mold you into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.

“God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.”   — C. S. Lewis

God Uses Our Sorrow and Suffering for His Glory

God is doing a great work in us that can only come to fruition as we learn to trust Him, no matter how dark and dreary our life may seem. When we stop asking God why we are experiencing sorrow, and instead start applying our pain and sorrow for His glory, a milestone in our Christian life has been reached!

Pastor Tony Evans compares our sorrows to “The Temptations” hit song My Girl. When the song lyrics say, “When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May,” Evans says, [Look! My external circumstances are bad, but what can make me feel this way—My girl. He had a love relationship. You may be in a cloudy situation, but when it’s cold outside you can still have the month of May. My God can change your emotional strongholds]—when you have a relationship with God. ⁵

Every person must make the crucial choice to choose God or not choose God. By allowing the Holy Spirit to lead our lives, we develop trust in Him knowing He will control our lives way better than we can. Why? Because He knows the big picture, and we don’t!

Most often, those who have had the deepest spiritual impact in the world are those who have endured the most suffering because suffering produces holiness, strength and endurance.

Looking back over your life, where have you come from? What circumstances have happened in your life? Have you asked God what He wants you to do? He probably won’t show you the big picture of your life—even though He knows it! But we have the joy and privilege of asking Him to show us one step at a time.

Ask the Lord the following questions:

  • What needs to be refined in my life?
  • What areas do I need to improve upon? [My sins and logs]
  • Then repent, move on, and ask Him how He can use you.

When We Surrender Our Lives to Jesus Christ, He Will Give Us Peace

Let God carry your earthly burdens and concerns.

In addition, one thing I have learned in life is that “surrendering all to God” can be the most painful task we can undertake. It is painful because we have to confess our sins, give up all our earthly desires and trust solely in Him. It may not come all in one sitting. It may come over time. But through the pain, God is refining us, maturing us and making us more Christ-like. And as believers, that should be our ultimate goal, even if it is a grueling task, because our job is to joyfully endure to the end of our earthly life.

As I have grown in my walk with the Lord, I know the more time I spend with God reading, studying, memorizing, meditating on His Word, and releasing my cares, sorrows, and trials to Him, the more I want to obey Him and His Word.


Moreover, as we each move through our earthly life, let’s not forget that, in that life, we all experience sorrow in the form of deep distress, sadness, or regret. We will all make mistakes and blow it—just like David did. But, let’s not dwell only on David’s failures. Let’s look at how He chose to sum up the lessons learned as he imparts his wisdom to his son Solomon.

“As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn.” (1 Kings 2:1-3)

Bible Verses

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:3)

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)


Oh, my dear Jesus. When times of sorrow fill my heart, let me remember You foremost. Let me come to You and share my sorrows, concerns, and trials. Let me lay them at Your feet. You are my comforter. It is in You whom I want to always depend upon and trust. Help me to be all I can be for Your honor and glory. I love you. Amen.

God Bless.


Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member

BibleGateway Blogger, Member

SBC, Church Member

Works Cited

¹ “sorrow.” Merriam-Webster.com. 2019. http://www.merriam-webster.com (1 July 2019).

² Q13 News Staff. “Doctors say having a broken heart is real: Here are the symptoms.” Web. 14 Feb 2018.

³ Roizen, Michael. “What are the three different types of tears found in our eyes.” Sharecare. Web. Accessed 1 July 2019.

⁴ Almendrala, Anna. “Here’s scientific evidence that crying can be therapeutic.” Web. 25 Aug 2015.

⁵ Evans, Tony. “Overcoming Emotional Strongholds.” Podcast. One Place. Web. Accessed 29 June 2019.

Edited by E. Johnson.

All verses are from the New American Standard Bible unless noted otherwise.

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Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

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Coping with Grief and Loss: Minnie’s Story

Coping with Grief and Loss: Minnie’s Testimony/ by Patti Greene, Greene Pastures by Patti [From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]

Grief and loss usually go hand-in-hand. Minnie recently agreed to an interview about how her grief and loss has made her a better person. Her brother, husband, and two sons died. But, God was her support before, during, and after her losses.

This interview took place on August 2, 2016 on the Carnival Liberty cruise ship operated by Carnival Cruise Line. I met Minnie for the first time on the ship. During a breakfast together, I knew her story had to be told.

Life in a Nutshell

Minnie, I really appreciate the opportunity to ask you some very tough and candid questions about your life. In this interview, my goal is to pull out some insights so others may benefit from your life experiences regarding healing, death, grief, sorrow, and the ability to move on. Please tell me a short summary of your life.

I married at a young age in 1962. After having three boys, Jimbo, Kurt, and Paul, I became a single mother through divorce. My first husband and I were unequally yoked in the things of God, so I knew that if I ever remarried, I would only marry a strong believer. I wanted to seek God again, but I didn’t know how to. After some time being a single mom and growing in the Lord, I married my second husband Morgan. We became parents to two lovely daughters: Melody and Robin. My brother died  the age of 40 in 1986. My son Kurt passed away at the age of 24 from a tragic motorcycle accident in 1990. My husband Morgan passed away in 2013. My son Jimbo passed away at the age of 51 from alcoholism in 2014. I became a believer at 10-years old and was baptized at Nederland Hillcrest Baptist Church. I have always had a heart for God even though I haven’t always walked close to Him. As a child, I used to put a map on my bed and I prayed for the nations. I am 72-years old now.

Healing and Death

In 1986, you prayed for your brother’s healing. In 1991, you prayed for your husband’s healing. Your brother was not healed, but your husband was healed. Any insights?

In 1986 when my brother was gravely ill, Morgan and I prayed so much for his healing. In the hospital, I was paralyzed with fear. I was so scared and afraid. Now, I know that it was [spiritual] warfare – a fight of faith. God was trying to teach me to walk by faith. I was disappointed because I was learning my new walk with God and I didn’t know why my prayers of faith did not work for my brother. And he died.

Then in 1991, my husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma which is a rare form of cancer directly related to asbestos exposure. Mayo Clinic says, “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.” At the time, I knew I served a powerful God and that He could do anything. One day as I laid beside my husband during his illness, I thought I was smothering to death. But, I went into another room and fell to my knees knowing that God wanted to talk to me, I asked, “Are you going to require my husband’s life to do this?” God responded, “No, I am going to make you a woman of faith over this.” This is when my faith journey began. Many people prayed for my husband during this illness. And, Morgan was completely healed. He lived 22 years after his diagnosis. His medical case is documented at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas. The doctor said that he only knew of two other survivors of mesothelioma and they were not in the United States.

But, with every loss, I have had, I have become stronger and stronger.

Tell me about the deaths your sons Jimbo and Kurt.

Jimbo passed away from alcoholism in 2014. I took care of him the last year of his life and watched his condition weaken until he passed. In 1990, Kurt died in a motorcycle accident when he was 24-years old. He was also struggling with alcoholism at the time.

When your husband and son Jimbo died, you had time to prepare for their deaths, but when your son Kurt died unexpectedly in the motorcycle accident, was it a different experience?

Very much so. But, I didn’t have any regrets. I had many sweet talks with Kurt before he passed away. He shared an experience he had with God. He said he was in the front yard and a plant had a hot flame flaring up from the gas. God told him, “Kurt, if you don’t change your ways, this is what is waiting for you.” He had another experience seeing the stars, the moon, and the clear skies. The Lord said, “This is what is waiting for you if you come back to me.” Then, one night, Kurt called late at night and he cried and we spent time talking together. So I didn’t have any regrets.

You had mentioned to me that your sons and husband were prepared for life after death. What do you mean?

They all had a personal relationship with Jesus. They knew Him and I know they are in Heaven.

In Jonah 4:6, Jonah mentions, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Did you ever feel that way?

Not like Jonah did. I was not in defeat or despair, because God gave me glimpses of the other side [Heaven]. I realized that it is better to be in the presence of God. I never wanted to die due to my losses.

Grief and Sorrow

Out of all of your life experiences, what was the hardest situation you have ever faced?

It was when Jimbo was 16-years old and Kurt was 14-years old. They both wanted to go and live with their father. It was the first real heartbreak of my life. They were striped from my arms. They both wanted to go where they could drink and have no restrictions. Jimbo was only gone a year because he could not live the Christian life at Daddy’s house. But, Kurt never did come home.

Any other heart-breaking experiences?

What broke my heart more than death was seeing the struggles my sons went through with their alcohol addiction. Jimbo would go off for months at a time and my mind thought the worst. But, I know where they are and God has confirmed that to me.

How has grief and loss affected you?

It has made me a better person. It has helped me to know how real God is. He is true to His word. He has made me stronger. There is nothing He will not sustain me in.

Did you ever ask God, “Why me?”

No. Never.

It appears your sorrows were greatly multiplied more than others. Why do you think that happened to you?

I feel like He’s been preparing and using me to help others during their dark times. I encourage others and help them see that what they are going through is not the end. God does not view death the way we do. He wants us to see death through His eyes. I don’t view death as the end.

Prayer During Tough Times

What was your prayer life like during these times?

After each loss, I experienced grief differently. I gained more insight into prayer and how God works with each loss.

I experienced times of fear when Kurt was in a coma before his passing. I could not pray. Words would not come. I just said the name of “Jesus” over and over.

When I was in the hospital with Kurt in 1990, his nurse whispered in my ear and told me to keep praying. She said, “When you aren’t here with him, I am praying for him.” After Kurt passed away, I could not cry. My mom brought me into the hospital bathroom and said, “It’s okay to cry.” But, I couldn’t.

At the time, I was caring for everyone and I felt God was carrying me in his arms. I found my release after the funeral and I grieved properly.

Moving On

What does the phrase “time is short” mean to you?

It means we are allotted so much time. We must make the most of every day. We should see God’s work in all we do. His handiwork is everywhere. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

In 1991, you were impressed that God wanted you to be a “Woman of Faith.” Can you explain that?

When I pray for people, I feel the power of God. I love to read the gospels and life of Jesus. Jesus says in His word that He has given us power and authority on earth to preach the gospel. I’m not a preacher, but we can teach in our everyday lives. We can see people recover when we lay hands on the sick by the power of Jesus has given us. If a child of God does not know about this power and authority, they may live far beneath what God’s purpose is for them.

As you look forward, do you have any goals?

Yes, I want to go to Africa. I just want to touch as many lives as possible. I want to them to be saved, healed, and delivered.

Advice to Others

If you could share one tidbit of wisdom to young women, what would it be?

I would tell young women to let God be the center of their lives. The cry of my heart is that they must pass His name on to the next generation. The greatest gift for children is to pass on a godly heritage. They must guide their children by example. If passing on God stops with us, we will have a lost generation. Another thing I see is people speaking death over their children by talking negatively about them. We must speak life and good things over our children.


After all the grief and loss you have been through, do you have a favorite Scripture passage?

Yes, it is Psalm 91. I would encourage those reading this psalm to substitute their own name in this chapter to make it more personal and meaningful to them.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place,
the Most High, who is my refuge,
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Any last thoughts?

I just want people to know Jesus like I know Him. I don’t want people to live for themselves. I want my life to count for Him. I don’t want to waste my life. I see so many people throwing their lives away and living for the NOW. There is so much more and we need to go deeper with God.

Minnie, thank you so much for sharing the love of Jesus with the readers of Greene Pastures. Through teary eyes you shared your heart and soul.

God Bless,


Bible Verses:

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29:11)

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)

For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. (2 Corinthians 7:11)


Dear Heavenly Father, we don’t know why tragedy and loss come upon some and not others. But, we know that when and if it does come upon us that you are there to see us through. You always know the big picture for our lives. As we seek to understand your will and ways, let us never lose heart that your desire for us is always for our best. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

¹ http://mesotheliomaclaimscenter.info/what-is-mesothelioma

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version containing the Old and New Testament. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. [All verses come from the English Standard Bible unless noted otherwise]

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Readers: If you have lived through grief and loss, Greene Pastures would love to hear your story in the comment section. Your words may be just what others might need to hear. Scroll down to the Comment Section.