Last year, I fear that if I had read the verse in the book of Ecclesiastes that stated sorrow is better than laughter, I most definitely would have thought it an oddity. Today, however, I am living its truth.
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 fool’s heart is in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:3-4
It is a paradigm that is best understood in the midst of suffering. There is an unexpected and sacred intimacy with the Lord that happens when you ache in the deepest crevices of your heart.
I have found that while in the throes of affliction and great distress, the Lord meets me in that place. I liken it to a rag doll being picked up from complete brokenness and ruin and slowly, tenderly, and methodically being mended back together. When I think I cannot breathe another breath and feel as if my heart will explode, He, our great God, provides me with himself. He ministers to me as only his Spirit can, with consolations and whispers of hope.
I do not intend in any way to romanticize suffering or to elevate the sufferer. It is God who is the great One and the mighty comforter. In these months without Justin, the phrase, “I have been brought low” has been a constant companion. Strangely, in the low places, I have found that joy is also present.
The Lord is the giver of joy and somehow in his tender mercies, He gives me a gladness of face and joy in my heart in my low state. I am reminded of the quote from C.S. Lewis from his book, “The Problem with Pain. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” He has not left me in my lowest state, He is shouting to me that never will he leave me and never will he forsake me. In this, I cling to him.
I am learning that when God calls you to a certain suffering, He doesn’t give us grace for tomorrow, He gives us the grace to sustain us for our today. With this truth, I take my days one minute at a time knowing that He will “hold me fast”.
Forever held in his grace,
*This picture was taken last year by my daughter. She captured Justin walking in the cotton field across from our house.