Most people do not want to go where there is sadness. Most want to go where there is a circus, big sporting event, or some other show where there are lights, sound and action! It’s part of the flesh that most like the stimulation of excitement. When I was a boy, I enjoyed the “Wide World of Sports.” The “thrill of victory” was far more enjoyable than the “agony of defeat”! That’s natural!
Yet there is something about mourning that God’s view teaches us about life. Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes,
A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one’s birth; 2 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. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Ecc. 7:1-4 NKJ)
This is a strange passage to most people, because it goes against what is natural. But think about it. The reality is every person will face death (except for those who will be raptured). Mourning for the dead reminds us of our own frailty. It reminds us that our time on earth is short and that we are not invincible. One day we will face the Lord and give an account for all things in life.
When you go to the house of feasting, you will focus on the present. And while you may have a great time, you will not be inclined to consider your mortality or the accountability that will be one day rendered. Solomon also made the comment that the wise is in the house of mourning, because the wise go to minister to those who are suffering. The foolish only go to the “house of mirth” or house of laughter or enjoyment. The fool doesn’t want to think about the accountability. He lives for the moment, not eternity.
Bob Raber is a good brother in the Lord who is in the final stages of his life. While the family is in mourning for his pending transition to heaven, the wise will come alongside him as well as Carolyn. The wise will express concern for both Bob and Carolyn. The heart of the wise will consider proactively what he can do to help Carolyn, before she asks, because she is going through the emotional draining process of answering many questions from so many people. She will be thinking about what life will be like without Bob. The humanity of life will be present and before her.
Do you have a wise heart?