There is … a time to weep and a time to laugh. Ecclesiastes 3:1a,4a, NIV
I grew up in a culture where men were not supposed to cry. There is a saying that cowboys don’t cry, especially not in front of their horses. There are many men on earth who grew up with the notion that it is shameful to cry. However, today’s verse teaches us that crying is an emotion given to us by God. And there is a time to weep.
Emotions were given by God. It has a purpose. A baby cries to communicate a need that requires urgent attention, when it does not have the words to say what is wrong. Crying is a good stress relief mechanism for a heart filled with emotion. Women teach us that one can cry when you are in pain, when your heart is broken or when joy overwhelms you. When we see someone crying, it immediately catches our attention. Something is too big for them to handle by themselves, unless they tell us otherwise. We were called to love one another as Christ loves us (John 13:34 and John 15:12). Therefore, it stands to reason that tears always call for our attention – I might be in the position to offer help. A caring heart pays attention to tears.
There is also a time to laugh. Humour is one of the most beautiful gifts that God has given us to handle our life’s challenges. We, as South Africans, are world renowned for joking about life’s disasters. It helps us to get a handle on situations that would otherwise be too difficult to manage. It breaks the challenge into smaller pieces, making it easier to overcome. It is much easier to laugh about those things we cannot control, when we remember that God has the ultimate control over our lives and times. Everything happening is not dependant on my input. It is good for our health to laugh often. It breaks the hold of stress and it builds better relationships when we have a good time with family and friends, laughing often with the people we love. Laughter brings joy, it makes life feel good. We sometimes forget to laugh in troubling times. When last have you had a good burst of laughter? Maybe, when you see yourself in the mirror, when you get out of the shower, it will be better to laugh than cry …
May God teach us to be in touch with our emotions. We may weep when we hurt. We may cry when we are overwhelmed by the world and all its heartbreak. We may cry on a friend’s shoulder; it is good for us. But, may we also celebrate the beautiful and funny moments that life presents every day. May we laugh and pray over those things we cannot control.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for creating me with a body, soul and spirit. Thank you for the emotions you have given me. Help me to be healthy in my emotional life. Help me to cry when it is needed. Lord, help me to laugh every day, because life with you is good! Amen.