How is that for a title? After seeing that title, I commend you if you are still reading this devotional. The emotions listed are charged for many people. For some, these emotions are familiar friends. For others, they are emotions that you have managed to avoid, at least consciously so. Today, I aim to offer some context for the rest of the week, followed by a word of encouragement.

Sadness, grief, and depression are all cousin emotions, but they are not the same thing. Sadness may be the emotion that the majority of us can name easily. It tends to be a short season of feeling down or blue. Difficult life situations can cause these feelings. Depression, on the other hand, tends to be a long season of sadness that begins to threaten one’s identity. It can cause you to isolate, lose interest in things you used to love, feel hopeless, and feel disoriented about why you are so down. It is often difficult to name a single source of depression.

Grief is often associated with the emotions you feel after losing a loved one, but it goes beyond that. Grief, more precisely, is a deep feeling of loss. It can come with losing a person, friendship, job situation, or even a future dream. The causes of grief mean that some measure of it can live with someone for a lifetime. It shares many similarities with sadness and depression, and its presence may linger in the background for seasons, but it tends to return occasionally.

If you have lived enough life, you have felt these things. It is part of being a human in this broken world. The good news is that God understands.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

God is an endless source of compassion for you. We worship a God who empathizes with our weakness and hurt. Genuine empathy is one balm that can comfort those feeling such things. If you are feeling any of these emotions, take a moment to tell him about it. I’m not talking about a bit of prayer; I suggest you tell him all of it. It often helps me to journal my prayers about such feelings. I complain, vent, and tell God why I don’t think things are fair, and then I receive the comfort of a God who understands all those emotions.