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Beauty in Mourning

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting…”

“Sorrow is better than laughter…”

“The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning…” 

At first it seems like I could be in depression and writing about my sorrows, but each of the above statements is taken directly from Ecclesiastes 7. As I read these verses yesterday, I began to ask myself why Solomon would say such things. However, as it often goes, if you continue reading you find the answer.

“For oppression makes a wise man mad…”

It could seem like Solomon is contradicting himself since he oft refers to a man’s lot in life as eating, drinking, and enjoying his work. However, if you read to the end you find out that Solomon ultimately discovers (though he knew it all along) that Christ is the only true purpose in this life.

Still, why are sorrow and mourning such good things? I believe the answer is found in the latter verse. Oppression makes a wise man mad. Of course laughter and fun are not sinful, but how often do they spur you to change the world? How often do you laugh at a joke and think, “I need to do something about the orphans in our community?” How often do you get off a roller coaster and think, “I should go on a mission trip?” These are not the things that come to mind when we are laughing and having a good time. These are the things that come to mind when we are reading about children dying from lack of clean water, watching a documentary about the Rwandan genocide, marveling at the number of unreached people groups in the world, or just reading God’s Word.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Physical oppression. Economical oppression. Social oppression. Most of all: spiritual oppression. We live in an oppressed world. Are you angry? If so, it can be a beautiful thing. Unrighteous, selfish, unhelpful anger is dangerous, but righteous, selfless anger that sparks action is something to be thankful for. I believe the Lord gives us that anger, but only so that we can channel it to change.

Don’t be afraid to mourn. Don’t be afraid to be full of sorrow. Don’t fear righteous anger. Because the beauty is that when you use all of these and allow God to take you to new places of sacrifice and abandonment to Him, you will experience a joy nothing in this world can offer.

Commanded and Called,

Matt Atwell


About the RBC Blog

Each week, one of the members of the RBC staff write a short blog about their area of ministry or a devotional about one of their favorite passages of Scripture. Check in with us each week to see what our church leaders have to say about their walks with the Lord! New posts appear every Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. PST. 

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