Composers often use minor keys to express sadness (but they can express other emotions). We’re used to hearing music mostly in major keys, so when we hear something in a minor key, we might feel that there’s something wrong. And composers use that feel to compose sad songs. Yet, musical phrases in a minor key often stand out as more beautiful. And that’s true even while we still feel its sorrow. Sometimes we experience sadness | life in a minor key.
In standard music, there are twelve minor keys. And each one of them has a slightly different feel–or color–to it. Some people even see assorted colors in their minds with each key!
When we experience sorrow, and it dominates our life, it overwhelms us. And each of us experiences the color of our sadness differently. But what’s nice about experiencing life in a minor key is when something pleasant happens, we can notice it more. That’s just like hearing a beautiful musical phrase within music in a minor key. And sometimes we experience sadness | life in a minor key.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed; His compassions do not fail.
They are new every morning; (new every morning); great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).”
A Sad Story
This beautiful passage comes out of nowhere in the Bible book of Lamentations. People don’t pay much attention to it because it’s a book filled with gloom. The Jewish prophet Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, wrote it. God gave Jeremiah a miserable task.
Because Israel disobeyed God by seeking other gods, and had wicked ways, judgment was coming. God had previously warned them through other prophets to repent and return to Him to be blessed instead of destroyed. And now it was too late.
God pictured the coming ruin as a boiling pot facing north. He was sending the Babylonians, the world power of that day (whose country was north of Israel), to destroy Israel. They would remove His people from their Promised Land. They’d be in captivity and God wouldn’t restore them to their land for seventy years. And only a remnant would return.
Jeremiah watched this destruction of Jerusalem and its temple from a ringside seat. The temple, was the Jew’s primary connection to God. And Jerusalem is where Jeremiah witnessed, during and after, this national disaster.
Jerusalem is known as the eternal city. Prophecy tells us that God will build a New Jerusalem as His capital city during Jesus’ thousand-year reign. His rule will continue into eternity when God comes to earth and dwells with humanity on a new earth. So, Jerusalem was and is Israel’s pride, and in it, God will fulfill His promises.
Heartbreak and Sadness
Jeremiah loved his country and his people and was heartbroken when compelled to witness their destruction and exile. Authoring Lamentations documented his sorrow. In the first two of five chapters, he wept over the miseries of a destroyed Jerusalem and of God’s anger towards it.
Then in chapter three, he described his own feelings about this national disaster. He took God’s judgment personally, writing,
“He has driven and brought me into darkness without any light.
Sometimes we experience sadness | life in a minor key.
Have You Felt this Way?
Surely against me has He turned His hand continually, the whole day long (Lamentations 3:22-23).”
Yet during this time, he suddenly broke out from writing about his sorrows to writing two of the most beautiful verses in the Bible (see the introductory verses). Then after those two verses, he returned to his woes, saying,
“My eyes flow with rivers of tears for the destruction of the daughter of my people (Lamentations 3:48).”
Deep Sorrow Turned to Joy
Jeremiah was a sensitive person. He felt every emotion, pleasant or unpleasant, deeply. And he wasn’t afraid to express his feelings for the world to see. So, what turned Jeremiah’s deep sorrow into a sudden outburst of joyous worship?
Even amidst all the destruction, he could still see the Lord’s mercy and compassion: They were new every morning! He saw the coming sunrise bringing the bright colors of God’s mercy and faithfulness. God directs us to view the coming sunrise:
“For you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.
And God’s presence stood out even more in the constant lament from the prophet’s surroundings. He found beauty–even while living in sadness.
Many of us are Overwhelmed by Sadness.
Psychologists say depression is at the top of the list of issues people face. Even while we face it, we can find hope in God’s compassion, mercy, and faithfulness. In Him, we can find beauty even in our sadness–our minor key.
If you feel hopeless and severely depressed, reach out for professional care. We all experience sorrow, but you may need extra help to see you through. That’s okay. Do not hesitate to get help.
National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255
You are not alone. Please click the pray for me button, or the connect button and let us know how we can help. You are deeply loved by God. We want you to know Him.