Grief, a Fact of Life – Proverbs 14:13

Proverbs 14:13 “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.”

What happens when you are having bad day? Have your plans been completely turned upside down? Have your expectations not been met? Have you tried and failed to have a Godly attitude? Maybe you have struggled in another area and are grieved because you feel that once again you have let down the Lord because of your repugnant selfishness. Your situation may be completely different. Possibly you have lost a loved one, you are just feeling all alone, or the news and the political scene are grieving you. Maybe someone has deeply hurt you. These situations all can cause sorrow in our hearts. Man’s sin brought sorrow not only to himself, but to his Creator and all God’s creation as well (Genesis 3, 6:5-6, Romans 8:22).

While we can laugh and be sorrowful, while we can force a smile and yet feel down, the laughter and smile is only a cover up for the emotional pain we are feeling. Many times, this guise is a poor one. Even the mirth of this laughter seems to further exacerbate grief once it is over.

The Hebrew word for “heaviness” is used only four times.   Half of those times it is used to describe the grief and depression that a fool causes in the hearts of his parents (Proverbs 10:1, 17:21).

The Hebrew word for the “sorrow” (H3510) that Solomon uses in this proverb means “to be sore, in pain, to grieve.”

King David wrote about this type of sorrow in Psalm 69:25. He said, “But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.” David was going through a time of terrible distress in his life where it felt like he was going to be drowned by the circumstances He was going through (Psalm 69:1-3). He was emotionally and physically exhausted.

We all go through times of testing. These times of testing reveal in whom we put our trust, God, ourselves, someone, or something else. In Psalm 69, David demonstrates what our response should be in times of distress and grief.


In faith, David took three actions.

  1. He prayed patiently,
  2. praised the name of God with a song, and
  3. magnified the Lord with thanksgiving (Psalm 69:13, 30).

Notice that David poured out his situation to the Lord in faith and was waiting on God (Psalm 69:1-36). He realized he needed help, and happy is the individual who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God (Psalm 146:5). He then praised God’s name with a song. David’s actions demonstrated that he believed God was his Helper and salvation. His heart was filled with a chorus, not of whining, but of praise. Following David’s praise to God’s name was his magnification of God in thanksgiving to Him. David said that God valued a heart attitude of faith, praise, and thanksgiving more than any sacrifice of an ox or bullock. Though we no longer have Old Testament sacrifices which foreshadowed Christ’s cross work for our sins, these verses shows that God values a right attitude more than any outward shows of obedience (Psalm 69:30-31). If our hearts our right with God, outward actions of obedience will naturally follow.

Right now, whether you are going through a time of testing or life is relatively easy, keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus. He has borne your griefs and your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4) He knows your situation. He sympathizes with you (Psalm 138:8). He calls you to cast your burden on Him for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Follow David’s example in Psalm 69.

  1. Pray and wait patiently for God.  Be honest with the Lord, and tell Him that you will trust Him. Ask Him to help your unbelief (Mark 9:24)
  2. Praise His name with a song.  Psalm 9:10 says, “And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.” Psalm 91:14 says, “Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.” Do you know and praise God’s name? It’s the key to deliverance. Do you sing to Him? Keeping a long face long is impossible when you are seeking His face in song (Psalm 16:11).
  3. Magnify the Lord with thanksgiving.  Thank Him for the good work He is doing in your life (Philippians 1:6). Complaining is impossible when your heart and mouth is filled with thanksgiving.

Proverbs 14:13 states the facts. There may be laughter in sorrow, but heaviness follows. Sorrow is an overwhelming reality, but God is a greater overcoming reality. His reality gives me hope. My hope is in the Lord! Let’s live in that hope.

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13


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