To teach us God trains us with Grace as it says in Titus 2:11-12. How does God do this?
Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. 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.”
The house of mirth is a house of amusement. Think theme park or a Budweiser commercial. Now there is nothing wicked about a theme park, but if you lived there, how would ever face the more difficult and trying aspects of life?Mere amusement does not cause us to reflect on our condition as fallen men. Sorrow causes us to closely examine our lives. If your heart dwells in the house of mourning you remember who you were in Adam and who you are in Christ.
I am not saying that God never sends us to the house of mirth or that the House of mirth is wicked. I would also like to make a distinction between amusement and joy. I am not saying one is a house of depression and one a house of happiness and God’s wants you to be depressed all the time.
The wise man’s heart dwells in the house of mourning because it forces him to consider the result of sin and he vacations in the house of mirth. God is a good God who provides good things to us, but we should visit the house of mirth and come home, to the house of Sorrow where the true joy of fellowship and union with God are found.
The house of mourning and trial is the place we are trained by Grace. Your afflictions are the means God uses to train you in grace and love. In the house of mirth we ignore God just as Moses warned Israel in Deuteronomy 6. The wise man does not merely go about amusing himself, ignoring his fallen condition and the plight of others. And if our hearts do not dwell in the house of sorrow, always keeping before our eyes the result of sin and our need our dependence on God, than God takes us there for a refresher course. But God knows we cannot bear up in the house of mourning. We all need the house of morning so that we grow up in faith, but the house of mourning is too much for us. We go there alone and it crushes us.
The house of mourning is only bearable if God meets us there with comfort. Just like the Lion’s den is only safe when God is there to close the mouth of the lions. We all forget God in the house of mirth if we stay there too long, but in the house of Sorrow we turn to God. We are confronted with our need.
We go to the house of mourning, we encounter afflictions. Our pride is overcome and our weakness exposed. And if our heart remains there and we honestly confront our fallen state then we willingly turn to Scripture, to fellowship with God’s body the church and to prayer; than we are mindful of our need and God’s abundant provision. We reside in the peace that transcends understanding. We come to see that we need help. That we need rescuing. That we need saving, power and strength that we do not have in ourselves.