A friend of mine once posted a meme that simply said, “It’s ok to feel sad after making the right decision.” It hit me hard. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I had just desperately decided to choose God’s way over my own and was facing a wall of grief that completely derailed me. Mourning was not at all what I had been expecting. On the heels of my repentance, I would much rather have been rewarded with a flood of joy and peace. Instead, I found myself disoriented and disappointed. I thought light-heartedness would be mine once I turned away from darkness.
Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.Psalm 97:11 NIV
Verses like this didn’t seem to make sense. Where was the light? Where was the joy? I didn’t know that the Hebrew words at the beginning of this verse literally mean “light is sown.” Eugene Peterson paraphrased it as follows:
Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.Psalm 97:11 MSG
Turning away from sin and choosing God’s way plants seeds in us and around us. But the important thing to remember about seeds is that they take time. Another verse, later in the book of Psalms, says it this way:
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.Psalm 126:5 NIV
At the dawn of a new year, perhaps you have a renewed determination to break a nasty habit. Or maybe you’re ready to finally step out of the smothering shadows of secret sin and into the light of Christ. Don’t be surprised if you meet with pain and sadness along the way. Little by little, your right choices will plant seeds of light and joy that are sure to burst in your heart over time. So be patient. As the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.Galatians 6:9 NIV
Rest assured there is a good purpose in a prolonged germination. It’s not a grin-and-bear-it situation, designed to test your spiritual endurance; it’s a loving invitation to discover something, Someone.
Sadness wasn’t the only thing that surprised me in my struggle. My pain proved to me the promise Jesus made to comfort those who mourn (Matthew 5:4). He met me in ways I never could have experienced if I had refused to mourn. So don’t be afraid to grieve. Don’t resist it. Remember, “It’s ok to feel sad after making the right decision.” Embrace that sadness, but embrace it in faith — believing Jesus will meet you in your mourning…because He will! And the peace and comfort of His healing presence is what will tend and water those tiny seeds in your heart. In His time, in ways you can’t even yet imagine, they are certain to sprout and grow beautiful.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV