Read Ecclesiastes 3:4
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance, (NIV)
The sad clown is a familiar figure. Some of the world’s funniest people are also the saddest people. Tony Hancock made millions laugh but was driven to death by his own despondency. Peter Seller’s seemingly inexhaustible wit coexisted with an emptiness that was closer to tears than laughter. Making the world laugh, it seems, is a serious and costly business.
It is just as well that our Creator understands this. He isn’t fooled by the masks we wear or the roles we play. He knows, as does this ancient writer of Ecclesiastes, that we can’t be happy all the time. If you are the sort that is cheerful all the time, you need to get help! The world has too much sadness for us to put on a happy face each and every moment.
God knows the life of the party can be haunted by loneliness. He knows the funniest clowns shed real tears behind the scenes. That is why elsewhere in his words to us he urges us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. It is not our job in life to cheer everyone else up or make them laugh. We are to be companions in whatever phase of the journey they happen to be.
Whether we are weeping or laughing, our God is at our side in consolation or delight. No need to put on a happy face to earn his approval. No need to conjure up some sorrow to get his attention. He is both the God of our mourning and the God of our dancing.