“Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3)
Or this. Before we go any further, I feel you must know what an agelast is. Why, it’s someone who doesn’t laugh at all! Isn’t that just the funniest thing. My interpretive etymology would be something akin to separating each syllable and defining it thus. Someone who’s too old for that sort of thing. On their last…leg, so to speak. Again, this: “but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11b)
The older you get, the more responsibilities layered upon your soul, the harder it can be to squeeze out any drops of joy, no matter the reason. As, I would say, every season is a “season to be jolly”, does it actually pan out in view of reality? Bills. checkups, tune-ups, etc.? God knows.
Mourning before the morning
“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
“For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
Reason I put these two together is because there’s an order to receiving the joy of the Lord. Just because Jesus came (and died) and went and fulfilled “the law” and “the prophets” (Matthew 5:17) doesn’t mean there’s not still the structure of remorse and misery and consequences for sin and wrongdoing. Certainly no reason to laugh. But after one allows themselves to be convicted of the Holy Spirit (who is now here because of what Jesus did), God’s joy can then diffuse throughout the ensuing days, weeks, months. Joy in the morning means both after you awake (it’s there for you: see Lamentations 3:23) and also after you end a particularly vexing season of life.
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)
Here’s the thing. One thing I think everyone (including myself) struggles with is this notion that, maybe, God won’t always be there for them. Now, you do know Jesus said “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5), right? Yes, yes I do. But dem feels. So often do the things in which I find myself tempt me with inundation. Paper thin and more insubstantial, but for all intents and purposes, the “challenges of the season” as my dad would say look here to stay and like they’re not getting any better. Like they would outlast the Lord and His joy. But this is simply untrue. We know this. But the answer lies at the end of the verse from Isaiah. “That He might be golrified…” We go through what we do to bring glory to God. And, as He is always due glory and honor and worship for what He’s done, we can be sure that if we bring those things to Him in the midst of our mirthless season, He’ll bring joy. Both now and after!
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him…” (Hebrews 12:2-3a)