Solomon, the builder of the first and greatest temple, once observed that “even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.” This world offers many joys, but those joys are never far from sorrows.
For some it was a day of great rejoicing. For some it was a day of deep distress. Though Solomon’s temple had long since been destroyed by the order of King Nebuchadnezzar, the people had now returned from exile and had commenced work on a new temple, a new home for their God. Once the builders had finished laying the foundation, the priests and musicians called for a celebration, a time to praise God for the work begun. Then, as the priests came forward with their trumpets, the sons of Asaph with their cymbals, the voices of young and old alike joined in a great shout that resounded through the city and into the countryside beyond.
Yet those who observed carefully and listened attentively would have noticed that not all the shouts were the same, for where the young cried out their praises, the old cried out their sorrows. The young cried out in joy for the glory of what would soon be, the old cried out in grief for the glory of what had passed away. For from the very foundation, they knew this temple would never attain to the grandeur of the old.
Solomon, the builder of the first and greatest temple, once observed that “even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.” This world offers many joys, but those joys are never far from sorrows. Few pleasures are greater than the birth of a child, yet a child enters the world only through the long discomfort of pregnancy and the searing pain of delivery. As a man and woman are joined together to become one, they have to acknowledge they will not always be together, for their vows extend only “’til death do us part.” It is good to rejoice when one of God’s people has gone home to Jesus, but to be present with the Lord is to be absent from the earth and from all who loved him here. In our greatest joys we are never far from tears and in our deepest sorrows we are never far from laughter. Such is life in this broken, beautiful world.