In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, something Paul had written previously caused the church sorrow. Paul says he regretted it at first. His goal wasn’t to cause hurt. But after reconsidering and observing where the sorrow has led, he no longer regrets the “godly sorrow” because of the fruit it produced.
Life in the valleys is challenging. Sorrow and suffering are realities we have to acknowledge. Pain is a real thing and we have to bear it with honesty and truth. God only authorizes circumstances we can handle and is always there to help us through.
“Worldly” sorrow brings death; it is an end. It kills. Sorrow according to the world’s standards leads to nothingness, to oblivion. It is pain for pain’s sake.
But “godly” sorrow leads to life. It produces fruit, spurs action, and strengthens character.
The difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow is not specific kinds of circumstances, it is what we make of it. What we allow it to show us. What it makes us earnest for. What kind of alarm it brings.
Valleys are a reality in our lives. We have to go through them. It would be a shame to waste the valleys of our lives. Valleys are an opportunity for growth, development, and productivity. The seeds of life are often sown in the valley, where our eyes are opened to new possibilities.
Like the people of Corinth, we choose what to make of our valleys. Will they usher repentance, eagerness, and longing? Or will they be an end to themselves. If we align with the perspective of God, we allow our sufferings to be a part of the journey rather than the final say.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.”
– 2 Corinthians 7:10-11