How the Heart is Made Better

Michael Beck

“Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3)

It has been said that the longest foot in the world is that between our head and our heart. Truth we intellectually comprehend still needs to be apprehended on a deeper heart level.

We’re all apt to think we’re further along than we are. We judge others for their lack in certain areas. But then we are thrust into deep waters that reveal our own lack in the same area. Now, judgment of another is replaced by cries for mercy: “God, help me!”

We cannot change until we see a need to change. If we think we have something why should we seek for it? The person who thinks they’re loving or patient or good is smugly satisfied with themselves. There is no hunger or thirst for righteousness. But God sees where we really are on the maturity chart.

Children long to be grown up. We all wish to be seen as strong and beautiful. We want others to admire us. But then, to our sorrow and shame, the mirror on the wall cracks. “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth” (Psalm 39:11)

The trials we face disturb us in more ways than one. Perhaps most troubling is their ability to shatter our self-perception. They force us to confess we’re not so pretty, or strong, or mature after all. They bring out the ugly and lay us low. Hopefully, they drive us again and again, to a God who gives grace to the humble.

Most people are willing to settle for skin-deep beauty. But God is after true beauty in our life, and only He can produce it. Slowly but surely, through recurring temptations and trials, the gap between our head and heart can be bridged.

Don’t grow weary when God’s chastening is upon you. Yes, there is sorrow in the process, but know that your heart is in the perfect position to be made better.

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.