It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 7:2-5 ESV
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:3-4 ESV
In 1948 Thomas Dewey and Harry Truman were running against each other to see who would be the next president of the United States. Many people thought that Dewey would win, including the Chicago Tribune. In fact, this newspaper printed an early edition with the big headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” People who supported Dewey might have been happy early in the evening when they thought they had won, but in the end it was Truman who won. The Chicago Tribune had been wrong. People who supported Truman were the ones who were happy in the end, even if they had been sad earlier.
In Ecclesiastes it says that sorrow is better than laughter, and that it’s better to go to a place where people are grieving for someone who has died than to go to a party. What this means is that it’s better to see things the way they really are. We live in a sin-sick world where there is a lot of trouble and sorrow, and it all ends in death. It’s foolish to ignore this and to spend a lot of time in empty celebration and laughter. People who see the reality of life are the people who know they need God’s help.
God didn’t leave us in our sorrow and trouble. He came to us in Jesus and defeated sin and death for us. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross for us and his resurrection from death, we have life with God. Our life doesn’t end in death, but will go on forever with God in real joy. As we go through this world, our sins are forgiven and God is always with us to help us with our problems and comfort us in our sadness. Because of what God has done for us, we can be truly happy without ignoring the sad and painful things we sometimes see in life.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us true comfort and help through Jesus. In His Name, Amen.