“Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.”
Ecclesiastes 7:3, NIV

In a superficial culture it is difficult to imagine that sorrow can have a value, but the Gospel teaches that it does. It is believed by many that King Solomon authored the book of Ecclesiastes. He could boast of “having it all.” Every worldly pursuit was at his command: wealth, sexual pleasure, fame and accomplishment. Ecclesiastes reads like the most personal of journals and reveals that Solomon had it all and nothing at the same time.

His journey takes him from seeing all as “vanity” to ultimately finding that it is the fear of the Lord and keeping His commands that mark one who is truly blessed. In the middle of this journal he makes the powerful statement found at the top of this page. It is a verse I memorized and learned to cherish at a formative point in my personal development – a time of heartbreak.

I have found that when things are cruising (laughter), I tend to live on the surface and subtly avoid dealing with the more painful, real, challenging or pressing things in life. The truth is that, generally speaking, it is not until the sorrow comes that I stop and take account of my life. (I use the first person here to impress on you that ministers are not immune to this.)

Solomon discovered this to be true. He realized that in his wealth, pleasure, freedom and power there was little room for contemplation, devotion and spiritual development. And it was not until it all came crashing down on him that he looked to the Lord and saw life as it really was. In this he found that sorrow was good for his heart. And so did I. The next time sorrow invades your universe look to the Lord – if you are His, then something good is happening in you. That is a promise of the Gospel.

QUESTION: Look at Ecclesiates 7:14. How does this command apply to what you just read?