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The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:3 (NKJV)
"Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better."
This seems odd at first glance, and if one did not specifically say it was a Bible verse, many might scoff at the statement...until you really think about it:
*How have trails and hardships caused you to draw closer to God?
*How has pain spurred you to pray?
I think one of the best ways to understand this is the illustration of exercise: when it hurts, you are usually getting benefit...but if you "work out" with minimal suffering as your goal, you will never gain muscle or lose weight...hence, "sorrow is better than laughter."
Yes, the joy of the Lord is our strength (which is only in one verse in the Bible; Nehemiah 8:10), but the Bible has many verses about the necessity of trials to help our faith (Psalm 119:67, 71; James 1:3; 1 Peter 1:6-7; ), or our relationship with God...to even start to exist. I am certain, that if it were not for periods of incredible sorrow in my life, I would have never cried out to God for forgiveness, and I would not be where I am today in my spiritual maturity either.
So what's the point? Pain is a great motivator, and it helps us to know something is not right. If you put your hand on a stove, your body will tell you that "that was wrong, change your behavior quick"...and sometimes, God tells you something is wrong, "change your behavior quick" through spiritual/emotional pain.
Something refreshing to know here is this; often we can minimize pain by not being stubborn. We can go through less trials if we want to learn for our own good. God is not trying to harm us, but like children, we don't listen without a swat sometimes...but if we will listen, we reap the benefit.
Sometimes pain has nothing to do with anything we do or don't do, this world just hurts...but whatever the case, don't mistake pain as always being bad, it often is just what we need.
Go to Jesus, pray in your own words, believe He loves you, and watch what He will do to change your "sad countenance" and make your "heart better."