In one of the churches I pastored, a new lady began attending worship. During the songs of praise, she would always lift her hands and often do a little “Pentecostal two step” in the aisle. There were frequent Hallelujahs too.
I was somewhat taken aback when she asked to talk to me and told me how sad and depressed, she was and how she felt she never sensed God’s presence. I said I was surprised because she always gave the impression of being joyful.
To cut a long story short, it turned out as a new Christian she attended a church where people were scolded for not being exuberant in worship and she had been told that it was a virtual sin to be sad as Christians had that JOY, JOY, JOY DEEP DOWN IN THEIR HEART.
All of that would have been news to Jesus. Looking at the brokenness of the lives of so many of the people who came to him Jesus didn’t say BUCK UP AND SMILE.
Jesus said “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN”
Jesus said its OK NOT BE OK, in the Kingdom of God.
Just read the Psalms, they are full of lament, people being brutally honest about how hard life is and the negative impact that it is having on them. I was challenged in the Sky Jethani book we are reading by his comment about making sure that we make space in our worship for people to express a full range of emotions, not just joy.
A wee reminder to finish, if you are feeling a bit down, or a lot down, today, that’s OK Jesus says He can bless you even there.