“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.”
Lately, I’ve gotten statements like, “Ashley are you ok? You just don’t seem the same.” “You’re not the same bubbly, chipper person like you normally are.” To be quite honest, life has been very challenging these past few months. Some days I feel as though I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown, other days I feel numb, in shock to everything. Some moments, I feel fairly ok, just trying to get by, then other days I’m not ok, and I just weep and weep until I can’t anymore. I finally have come to grips of what’s going on…
It seems like every couple weeks I’m going to a funeral or if not a funeral getting a phone call about yet another death of a dear loved one. This season “death” has been the theme. Some nights, I tell God, “Surely Lord, my poor little heart can’t take anymore. How many loved ones do I have to lose? Can my heart get a break? I’m still grieving over the previous person, and yet a new loss occurs. Lord I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of mourning. Help me Lord. Please help me.”
I recall one night where my heart was troubled that I was lead to read Ecclesiastes. I came across Ecclesiastes chapter 7, and when I read it, I wept like I never wept before. Verses 2-4 spoke to my hurting heart, and it was then that I was beginning to understand. In this passage, Solomon, the wisest man to ever live gives us some insight about life and death. He states that is “better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting.” “Sorrow is better than laughter, a sad face is good for the heart.” According to the world, a statement like that seems so foolish. It seems crazy to think that it’s better to be in a state of mourning than a state of laughter and pleasure.
You see something that God is helping me to understand is that…
it is OK to mourn.
It is ok to grieve.
It is ok to be saddened by the loss of a loved one.
It is ok to grieve, to mourn, to wale, to let your heart experience the grieving process.
There’s no shame in that.
Even Jesus grieved. One of my favorite scriptures is, “Jesus Wept.”
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord.” they replied. “Jesus Wept.” -John 11:34-35
Although Jesus knew that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, He still allowed himself to experience grief and to weep. He allowed his heart to feel. That is something I have learned to embrace. As Christians, it is ok to hurt and to cry. God never commanded us to walk around with a smile on our faces 24/7, that’s unrealistic. Just because you grieve doesn’t mean you don’t trust God or that you don’t love God.
After Lazsurus had passed away, I get so much comfort from what his sister Martha said in John 11:21-24,
“”Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, your brother will rise again. Martha answered, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Martha and Mary both knew their brother Lazsurus died in the Lord and they knew that in the last day when the world ends, their brother would be resurrected with all the saints. Even though they knew this fact, it still didn’t stop them from grieving, from crying, and from weeping. This passage encourages me to know that EVEN as a Christian it is OK for me to mourn. God is not disappointed in me for having moments of great grief. He understands, He’s there and He cares.
It is when we are in the “house of mourning” that we are able to see life through it’s proper perspective. It helps us realize the reality of life and death. We see how short this physical life is and how our days are numbered. Most importantly it helps us face the harsh reality that one day we will encounter death as well. It helps us to cherish our loved ones and stop taking them for granted. It helps us realize that the things we get mad about or worry about in the long scheme of things really don’t matter. Most importantly the house of mourning helps us realize that the MOST important thing is to fear God and keep His commandments. When death comes to us, we won’t be able to carry our money, our prestige, our popularity, or our possessions with us. The only thing we will take with us is our soul and the works that we did upon this earth.
So my friend, I encourage you to mourn, weep, and feel. Go through the grieving process. And if you’re not in the house of mourning right now, know that it’s coming your way. Just keep living. Everyone will have to walk through its doors. But don’t lose heart when you’re in the house. Be encouraged by Solomon’s words,
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” -Ecc 7:2-4