6 Scriptures to Read When You’re Sad


6 Bible verses to read when you feel sad. Whether you struggle with depression, or you are just going through a hard time, these scriptures will encourage and comfort you.

When we’re sad, it can be tempting to medicate our problems with temporary things—things that distract, things that make us numb. We turn to social media, to people, to food, to alcohol, to Netflix. But God’s Word is powerful, offering help and hope and healing that endure. Not easy fixes, but true comfort.

Here are some of my favorite scriptures that help me during dark times. I could have chosen six hundred verses, but we’ll limit ourselves to six. Most are short and simple. Some speak of God’s love and faithfulness and concern for us as individuals; others offer an eternal perspective on temporary troubles. I pray they minister to you as they have ministered to me.

1.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
    praise his holy name.
  For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:4–5 NIV)

His favor lasts a lifetime…joy comes in the morning. 

2.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless. (Psalm 10:14 NIV)

God sees us. He considers—takes time to ponder, to study, to care about—our grief. He carries us, and our sadness, in his capable hands. 

3.

 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Matthew 10:28–31 NLT)

God knows us—he knows us better than we know ourselves. (Do you know how many hairs are on your head?!). We are valuable to him. 


My forthcoming book, When God Says “Wait,” ministers to women who are waiting and hurting. You can sign up for quarterly updates from my ministry here, and preorder the book here


4.

A slight twist on the familiar Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6 is most people’s go-to version, but I like some of Luke’s phrasing here): 

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:27–32 NIV)

How I love that sweet phrasing at the end: “little flock”! I can just see an affectionate twinkle in Jesus’ eyes as he spoke these words to the people he loved! And God is pleased to give us his kingdom, his best. 

5.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. . . . 

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53, 56–58 NIV)

We will be changed! This world is not the end of us, and death holds no permanent power. Our labor for God is not in vain. 

6.

This one is a mouthful, but I just can’t abbreviate it. Hang with it till the end—you’ll be glad you did! It’s like taking a sip of water from a fire hydrant (an encouraging fire hydrant). 🙂 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:3–12, NRSV)

Do you get what this is saying? Our salvation is no accident. We didn’t get lucky and slip past the sin detectors and sneak into the kingdom of God. Unworthy as we are, unworthy as we feel, God counts us worthy in Christ. He chose us, and he chose us on purpose! In fact, it made him happy to choose us (“he destined us for adoption…according to the good pleasure of his will”). And imperfect as we are, through Christ God makes us holy, gives us every spiritual blessing we need, and shows us off to the world as children who bring him glory. Our lives in Christ make God look good. Amazing!


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When they can’t find a heartbeat


a poem for women grieving a miscarriage or infant loss

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day—a day to remember babies lost through miscarriage or infant death. I wrote this poem five years ago, during a time of overwhelming grief. I have never shared it before. I pray these words are a comfort to others who have lost babies they have deeply loved but barely held, or never met. You are not alone.

 

Still

You’re

slipping

 away,

so whisper-soft I barely notice.

 

Until I do.

 

It’s the absences,

suddenly present,

sneaking

up on me—

 

nausea, relenting;

exhaustion, easing;

future, fading—

 

and I know you’re

slipping

away,

gone,

and I am alone

in this body.

 

And yet

I still feel you,

tucked safe inside,

your tiny heart beating

like hummingbird wings,

though I never saw it.

They never could find it.

 

But you know,

and I know,

that you still live

inside me,

and always will,

and it will be our secret

until the day,

together,

we die.

 

a comforting poem for women who have suffered miscarriage, in honor of infant and pregnancy loss remembrance day


Related posts:

When You Walk Through a Valley

When Being a Grown-up Means You’re Still Growing Up

The One She Needed to Write

My forthcoming book, When God Says, “Wait,” ministers to women who are waiting—including those enduring the painful wait for a child. You can sign up for updates from my ministry here, and preorder the book here.  


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When You Walk Through a Valley


When You Walk Through a Valley

Images courtesy of Pixabay

Who doesn’t love Psalm 23? For three verses it’s all smiles and peace, all dancing through flowers.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

   He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters, 

   He restores my soul. 

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

We read this and we’re like, Woohoo! Christianity means I get to be happy, happy all the time! “Green pastures, quiet waters, restored soul”? Sign me up! “He guides me in paths of righteousness”? Yes please!

But then we hit verse four, and our happy dance skips a beat: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” Wait, what? Valleys and shadows and evil? That doesn’t sound very Psalm 23-ish. I don’t feel like dancing anymore.

We back up and read verse four again.

            Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

Yep, we read it right. What’s Death Valley doing in the middle of Happy Land?

How does this:

when life is hard for Christians

turn into this:

barren-field-mountain-view

???

If the Good Shepherd Himself is leading us on paths of righteousness, how can we end up in the valley of the shadow of death—the dark place where evil lives? Did God’s GPS stop working? Did he abandon us mid-journey? Confused, we are tempted to hurry past verse four, eager to get to the “my cup overflows” part at the end.

But let’s pause here for a minute. Let’s take a good hard look at the phrasing, the way verse three leads into verse four (I’m using the NIV, 1984):

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

So we start out in verse three with God leading us. We’re cavorting down paths of righteousness. Life is good! We’re godly and happy! And then something goes wrong…or does it?

Notice that the psalm writer, David, doesn’t say, “And then we wander off the path and abandon God’s righteous ways, and that’s how we end up in the valley of the shadow of death, being punished for our sins.” No—one minute we’re following our loving Shepherd down paths of righteousness; the next we’re in the valley of the shadow of death.

Do you get what this means? Sometimes God’s righteous paths take us to the dark places. Sometimes God Himself leads us into the valley. We’re still on the path, still being righteous, still in the loving care of the Shepherd, but His righteous path is leading us where we don’t want to go—so close to death we feel its shadow.

It’s big, the valley of the shadow of death. Mile after mile of barren wilderness. The path through stretches long—no shortcuts across. The path of righteousness may wander around dark lands for days, weeks, months—even years.

Perhaps you’ve walked those dim paths before. Perhaps you’re walking them now. It goes something like this:

You’re graduating from college, faithful to God. It should be the best time in your life—the future stretching wide, so many options—but you? You have no plan. Not only are you jobless and date-less, you’re also directionless. Everyone else has a Great Life Plan—how they love revealing those plans in epic social media announcements—but you? You just feel lost. Lost and alone.

You’re sad. Endlessly sad. You don’t know why, and you can’t pull out. You pray, you work on yourself, you try to get help, but the sadness remains.

Your biological clock is sending off insistent daily alarms—BABY TIME BABY TIME BABY TIME—but every month, your own body betrays you.

Or maybe you have a family, but your family is struggling. You’ve tried to instill faith in your kids, but they’re fighting you, fighting God.

In times like this, fear rises. Confusion reigns. You start doubting God, doubting yourself: What did I do wrong? Is God mad at me? Does this suffering mean I’m being punished? Did I accidentally wander off the path of righteousness?

Psalm 23 says no. God says no.

There is more to Christianity—and life—than quiet naps by gentle streams. There’s deep comfort for dark times. Living under our Shepherd’s protection and care doesn’t mean we will never wait, never suffer, never experience disappointment, decay, or delay. God doesn’t promise us an escape from hardship; He promises to guide and protect us as we go through hardship, all the way to the other side. No matter how dark the path. No matter how long the journey. That’s the real message of Psalm 23.

 

The more I think about this truth, the more beautiful this psalm becomes. Because who lives beside quiet waters all the time? Who experiences a life of constant peace and endless blessing? Not me! Sometimes I have, sometimes I do, but not always. Not today.

Psalm 23 doesn’t promise a life of never-ending peace and happiness; it promises strength and help and hope through all life’s ups and downs. We have a Shepherd who loves us and meets all our needs. He knows when we need rest, and He knows how to provide it. And when He leads us down into the valley, He does not leave us alone. His rod and staff—His presence—are there to comfort and guide us all along the way.

We may have times when we’re wandering, but we’re not wandering alone. We may have times when we’re sad, but we’re not sad alone. We may have times when we’re waiting, but we’re not waiting alone.

He is for us, He is with us, and if we will just keep to the righteous path, He will guide us all the way across the valley, however long it takes. Eventually, He will help us find our footing as the path climbs back up the mountainside. We may be out of breath when we reach the top, homesick and road-weary, but He’ll urge us to rest beside a bubbling mountain stream. He’ll ask if we’d like some water, and we’ll hold out our cup and say, “Yes please.”


Want more from Lizzy Life? Sign up for my quarterly newsletter, and you’ll be the first to preorder my new book, When God Says, “Wait,” releasing from Barbour Publishing in March, 2017. New subscribers also receive a free download: 7 Two-Minute Devotions to do around the breakfast table with your family! 


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