Sadness is not unfamiliar to God. He is, in fact, infinitely more familiar with it than any other being.
"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart" (Genesis 6:5-6).
Many questions arise from this pronouncement of grief within the Divine heart, and much mystery as to how a being of perfect foreknowledge could be so saddened by the fact that He had created a human race He had always known would rebel and nearly destroy itself.
No attempt will be made in this consideration to solve this enigma. Of more interest is the fact of grief's presence in God's heart, and of our perception and understanding of Him. Indeed, God is the most emotional person who exists. His feelings are always in perfect alignment with His character and way, of course, and unlike ourselves, never does emotion cause our Lord to deviate from His holiness. He is nevertheless a feeling being, and the intensity of His emotion is of an infinite measure that would burst our hearts if somehow deposited into our own souls.
What must grief and sorrow be in one who feels emotion to the utmost degree? We would be horrified if we knew, and it is most solemn to consider that our Heavenly Father understood before creating the human race that we would bring great sadness to His heart. He created us nevertheless, and thankfully, the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ makes possible an infinite wellspring of joy to also fill the heart of God. "For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2). Perhaps this offers a glimmer of an answer, namely, that through Christ we possess the capacity to so rejoice the being of God that it was worth any and every sorrow.
"The Lord taketh pleasure in His people" (Psalm 149:4). Every honest believer will readily admit that we have grieved our Father both before and after we trusted in the Lord Jesus. Recalling that such sorrow is known in God to an emotional measure beyond degree surely causes within us our own grief. However, the knowledge that we can also bring great pleasure to our Lord lifts us up to proclaim with the Psalmist, "I will bless the Lord!" (Psalm 16:7). We will declare His wonder in both word and deed, and if it be true that He "taketh pleasure in His people," then we will certainly seek to give it! Christ-enabled love, faith, obedience, and an outpoured life to ministry to others is our capacity for blessing the heart of God. This day offers the opportunity, and surely the fact that we have too often pained our Father's heart births within us the deepest longing to please it.
"Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy."