What Does The Bible Say About Sadness

Sadness and Mental Health

Sadness is an emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. It is a healthy response to certain situations and can even help motivate us to take action to improve a difficult scenario. However, enduring sadness can have a damaging effect on mental health and disrupt our ability to function in our daily lives.

According to the World Health Organization, depression affects more than 264 million people worldwide and is one of the leading causes of disability. Depression is a medical disorder that is characterised by low mood which affects our thoughts, behaviours, and physical health. It is often accompanied by feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, decreased energy, difficulty sleeping, and the inability to take pleasure in activities.

So what does the Bible say about sadness? In Scripture, God shows us that sadness can be healthy, normal and even beneficial in some situations. There are multiple references to sadness throughout the Bible, such as in the book of Psalms, where King David talks of being mournful: “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” (Psalm 42:7).

Sadness is also mentioned in Proverbs, when it speaks of the importance of understanding a bad mood: “A sad heart can make you sick, but a glad heart is a good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Ecclesiastes talks of suffering as a way of understanding joy and contentment: “My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands. For they will bring you long life and wellbeing” (Ecclesiastes 6:2).

The book of Job also mentions sadness multiple times, and speaks of the importance of understanding our feelings, even when we are experiencing hardship. Job’s friends encourage him to accept his suffering and turn to God for help, reassuring him that “the day of sorrow will come to an end” (Job 11:20). Finally, in the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah bemoans the suffering of his people, yet talks of God being their ultimate source of hope: “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, who seek him” (Lamentations 3:25).

Sadness and Suffering

The Bible teaches us that, in this life, suffering and sadness are inevitable. The book of Job is a prime example of how God can, and does, use suffering to help bring people closer to Him. In the book of Romans, Paul speaks of the redemptive power of suffering: “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3–4). This shows us that, even in times of great sadness and suffering, we can still find hope.

The Bible also offers examples of how we can cope when we feel down. For example, Paul encourages us to comfort ourselves and each other: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Additionally, Isaiah reminds us that we have the comfort of God to turn to when in sorrow: “I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them and give them gladness for sorrow” (Isaiah 51:11).

Remembering that God is in control of all things and will bring us through sorrowful times can provide us with much-needed comfort and perspective when we are feeling down. As Psalm 55:22 reminds us, “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Sadness and Empathy

The Bible also teaches us that being compassionate towards those in suffering is an important part of our faith. Jesus Christ spent his life ministering to the sick, the poor, and the outcast and reached out to them with unconditional love. He teaches us that we should use our sadness to help us understand and empathise with others: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

Jesus also models for us the importance of caring for those who are going through hard times. He weeps with a grieving Lazarus in John 11:35 and reaches out to a grieving widow in Luke 7:13. In fact, Jesus weeps for anyone in sorrow, as he does for Jerusalem, “that if these people had known the things that make for peace, they would have no need of mourning” (Luke 19:41–42).

The Bible teaches us that true empathy should go beyond comforting those going through hard times. Rather than just offering surface-level sympathy, we should seek to understand the loneliness, fear, and sadness of those in suffering by “bearing one another’s burden” (Galatians 6:2). The book of Proverbs speaks of comforting others as a way to help “heal the broken hearted” (Proverbs 12:18).

Sadness and Faith

The Bible also speaks of the importance of having faith even in times of sorrow. These verses remind us that, even when life is hard, we must trust that God is at work and will eventually bring us comfort and joy: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress” (Psalm 46:1).

The Bible also teaches us that enduring sadness is a part of growing in faith. As Ovid said, “He who has never suffered, knows nothing.” We must not fear our suffering, but rather use it as an opportunity to use our faith to bring us comfort and peace until we can experience true joy. Romans 5:3 says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

In James 5:11, we are reminded of the importance of patience and perseverance in the face of suffering: “We count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.” Knowing that God is always with us, even in the darkest of times, should give us the hope that eventually, we will experience true joy and love.

Sadness and Hope

The Bible speaks of the importance of welcoming sadness as a way to find hope. Proverbs mentions that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12), but also that “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy” (Proverbs 13:12). Paul reminds us in Romans 8:25 that we should “rejoice in hope.”

This passage teaches us that, even though a long period of suffering is difficult, it is not forever and that we have the hope that things can and will get better if we reach out to God. The book of Isaiah tells us that, whatever the situation may look like now, we should have hope in the future because “no-one who hopes in [God] will . . . be put to shame” (Isaiah 49:23).

You can also find hope in the Bible by seeking out guidance and wisdom from God. He will not necessarily take away our sadness, but He will give us strength and comfort to help us through our sufferings.


The Bible speaks of the natural human emotion of sadness and provides us with comfort and hope in times of suffering. God understands our emotions and offers us comfort and guidance in the face of difficult times. Even in the worst of times, we can find hope by trusting God and knowing that He will bring us through our sorrows.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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