Sadness, grief, and sorrow are regular part of the sin-scarred human experience, so naturally Scripture talks about these things at length. The psalmists frequently wrote about their grief and sorrows as they gave their struggles up to God; Jesus Himself was described in Isaiah as a “man of sorrows acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Even entire books of the Bible such as Lamentations and Job have a dedicated overt theme of sorrow. Though sadness is a frequent occurrence of life, one day God promises that He will wipe away every tear and there will be no more sadness for His people who trust in Him.
And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
1 Samuel 30:4
Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.
2 Samuel 15:29–30
So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there.
But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.
While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly.
And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
and my bones waste away.
“Hear my prayer, O LORD,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and the end of joy may be grief.
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 heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Therefore I said:
“Look away from me;
let me weep bitter tears;
do not labor to comfort me
concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.”
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
Oh that my head were waters,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people!
But if you will not listen,
my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
because the LORD’s flock has been taken captive.
For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men.
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
2 Corinthians 7:8–11
For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
“For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
by John Perkins with Karen Waddles
Can joy come from suffering? We think of suffering as the worst of all evils. Our culture tells us to avoid it at all costs. But can suffering...
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