Sorrow is Better Than Laughter

Throughout the Bible, there’s a continuous exhortation to be joyful and there’s also an assumption that the child of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, should be the happiest of all people on earth.

The Bible has a great deal to say about laughter and joy. Scripture teaches that the “joy of the Lord is our strength” (Neh. 8:10), that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Prov 17:22), and that “a glad heart makes a cheerful face” (Proverbs 15:13).  Jesus said that He came to give us “life more abundantly” (John 10:10).

I was honestly surprised to stumble across Ecclesiastes 7:3 a few months ago. On the surface, it seems like a downright contradiction to the overall the witness of Scripture pertaining to the preimminence of joy, laughter and happiness:

“Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.”

Wait, what? When I first read this I did a double-take! I thought I’d read it incorrectly. How can sorrow be better than laughter? How can a sad face make the heart better? And yet the truth of God’s Word is very plain: short term sorrow can produce long term joy. The Apostle Paul says, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight in glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

When my own personal world turned upside down some time back, well-meaning friends encouraged me to “just move on and be happy.”  Understandably, it’s not healthy to wallow in grief indefinitely. And yet I learned in the valley of affliction that there’s actually healing in the process of grieving. Jesus says, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4). In other words, if you don’t mourn and grieve properly, you won’t be healed.

If you feel unspiritual because you’re in a season of grief, take heart. Allow yourself to grieve. Don’t rush the process of God at work in your life. Your season of sadness will yield a greater season of joy than you could have ever experienced without the pain!

“The suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us..” – Rom 8:18