A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth; better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. (Ecclesiastes 7:1-2)
Sorrow: the element that makes one’s life sweeter.
Solomon writes here about life. Had he not known the pain of death, the sweetness of life would not appear to him.
I speak not of sorrow left to mold and embitter the heart, but to deliver one in agony to the feet of Jesus, where that sorrow can be turned to joy, and the master carpenter can craft from splinters and dust a new building for His glory.
Those who have tasted cookies baked without salt understand that without salt, the flavor has no balance. That savory element is needed to define the sweet. To put it in context, if you will.
Tears shed in sorrow enhance the sweetness of life.
We found out two days before our daughter was born that my husband had a very large brain tumor. It pressed on his brain stem and had cost him his hearing on one side. We knew the Hand of God was directing the details, so we sat back and trusted, trembling, but confident in His faithfulness. And when she was born, there was something complex and beautiful about the joy we felt this time. There are few surprises in the birth of your fourth child, but we rejoiced in a new way, knowing the mercy of God that keeps us daily and, while not preventing every storm, gives us peace and strength to ride it out.
Why would God allow such difficulty to come in a young man’s life? Because it is now, early, that He wants us to learn the beauty of sorrow, the glory in suffering, the joy that is set before us that renders the present suffering unworthy of shame.
And why does He not change our circumstances when we ask in faith, believing? Might it be to train our eyes Upward, looking to Jesus, the (Author and) Finisher who knows the End and that it is good?
There is purpose, always purpose, in suffering. And yes, it is good. Oh, that we would grasp that purpose and take it to heart! Thereby the heart is made better, and life is sweeter.