A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;

In your life:
  • When have you cried the hardest?
  • What has caused you to laugh the loudest?
  • Have you mourned deeply?
  • Have you danced for joy?

If you agree with Solomon’s statement that there is, ‘A time to weep, And a time to laugh…’, then how do you reconcile the following verses?
  • Job 14:1 “Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always,
    • Is God contradicting Himself? Since our days are ‘full of trouble’, is it possible or even practical to think we can be joyful all the times?

While reflecting deeply on times of sadness and times of joy in your own life, and in the lives of those you love, read the following verses with these questions in mind:

What is God telling us? 
How does what God says align with your personal experiences, your understanding of scripture, and your expectations about life?
  • Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.
  • Proverbs 14:13 Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, And the end of mirth may be grief.
  • Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
  • James 4:9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

When God came to Earth as a man, He experienced both weeping and joy.
  • Luke 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
  • Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
    • How does knowing that our sinless Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wept and rejoiced influence your understanding and application of Ecclesiastes 3:4 (A time to weep, And a time to laugh;…)?

King David, a man after God’s own heart (see 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22), wept; but he also danced for joy.
  • 2 Samuel 12:22 And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’
  • 2 Samuel 6:14 Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.
    • Even with the Spirit of the LORD upon him (1 Samuel 16:13), the anointed King of Israel experienced great sorrow and joyous celebration.

The fact of the matter is, because sin, we live in a cursed world (read Genesis 3). We live with the consequences of sin every day.
  • Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
  • Ezekiel 36:31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations.
  • Hebrews 12:5-6 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

Yet even in the midst of all the sorrow brought into the world by sin, there are powerful and eternal truths that serve as an unmovable/unbreakable foundation for those surrendered to Christ's Lordship: God came to earth as a man (Jesus Christ), He lived a sinless life, He died on a Roman cross to pay our sin debt, and three days later He defeated death by rising from the grave to show us that we can have eternal life through Him.
  • 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
  • 1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
  • 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus knew this!
  • John 16:20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.
    • Jesus told His disciples how they would mourn His death. But He also told them about the joy that would come as a result of His resurrection.

David knew this!
  • 2 Samuel 12:23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
    • David understood that even though his baby boy had died, he would spend eternity in Heaven with his son.

There is no contradiction! There are two truths!!

Temporary Truth
Because of the consequences of sin, Christians experience and endure temporary suffering while:

Praising God during temporary struggles.
  • Psalm 30:4-5 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. 5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Rejoicing to partake in Christ’s sufferings.
  • 1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Growing through trials.
  • James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

Expecting the comfort that only forgiveness and eternal life can bring.
  • Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

Obediently enduring the trials of this life while confidently watching for Christ’s return.
  • Hebrews 10:35-37 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Eternal Truth
Because of salvation in Jesus Christ, Christians experience and express eternal joy by:

Being born again as believers in Christ!
  • John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Believing in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
  • Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Experiencing God’s mercy.
  • Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities,

Expecting Christ’s return.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?

Trusting in God’s promises about eternal life in Heaven.
  • Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

We must persevere in faith as we experience
the ups and downs of life in a fallen world!

We have the privilege of continually rejoicing
in the eternal truths and promises
of our Heavenly Father!


Dear LORD, give us the faith, strength, endurance, patience and perspective to stand strong for Your glory regardless of the challenges and disappointments life may bring. Thank You for the indwelling presence of Your Holy Spirit and the eternal truth of Your Holy Word which guide us confidently towards our everlasting life in Heaven with You. May the joy of the LORD shine through our lives in all circumstances. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.