Yesterday, we talked about being a woman clothed in strength and dignity (honor) because her heart is fixed on the Lord. Let’s look at the entire verse, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (Prov. 31:25) The New American Standard there says, “She smiles at the future,” and another translation says, “She shall rejoice in time to come.”
That word laugh has the thought of being carefree. Now, it’s not because the woman has no problems. It’s because she knows to cast her burdens on the Lord, so she doesn’t let those burdens stay on her. She’s not frivolous. She’s not silly, but she walks with dignity through the trials and challenges of life. She laughs in pleasure as she thinks about the future. She is free from fear of the future. She looks to the future with confidence, with hope, and with joy regardless of its challenges.
The woman of strength and dignity has a calm anticipation of the future because she trusts the wise and loving providence of a Heavenly Father who cares, who is able to control the future, who does control the future, the life to come. She is a woman of strength and dignity because she fears the Lord and knows Jesus Christ. She’s made preparations for the future that she can make, and she’s prepared her own heart by tethering her heart to the Word of God, to the character of God, to the ways of God before the storms come. She can be optimistic about the future.
Now, as I mentioned, the English Standard Version says in this verse, Proverbs 31, verse 25, “She laughs at the time to come.” That word laugh is used in another instance in Psalm chapter 2, and I want to just quote for you a portion of that psalm to give you a broader understanding of this concept of laughing because in this psalm, we see an instance in which God laughs. Psalm 2:2-3 tells us, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their shackles.” So you have the armies of earth amassed against God, and what is God’s response? “The One enthroned in heaven laughs.” It’s the same word as is used in Proverbs 31, verse 25, “She laughs at the time to come.”
“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath saying, “I have installed my King [King Jesus] on Zion, my holy hill.”” (v. 4-6 NIV) Now, here’s the picture. You have the nations, the kings, the armies of the whole world allied together to wage war against God, and here you have all these world powers aiming their most sophisticated weapons and missiles toward God. They’re arrogant. They think they are all-powerful. They think they are invincible, but in fact, they are less than gnats to God.
All their military power, all their military might—it is nothing against the all-powerful God of the universe. There is not a thing they can do to hurt God, much less defeat Him. I read one commentator on this passage that said, “Puny man taking on the Omnipotent One—how laughable! It would be like a toy sailboat taking on a massive battleship or an ant trying to do battle against an elephant!”
So the woman who walks with God, who fears God, who is clothed with strength and dignity that come from living in the presence of God, that woman can confidently laugh and smile as she faces the future and whatever it may bring against her because the future can no more hurt and defeat her as she is clothed in God’s strength and dignity than the future can hurt God as the kings of the earth send their weaponry and might and power against the God of the universe.
There’s nothing that can hurt or defeat your life if you are in Christ. That’s perhaps what the apostle Paul was thinking in Romans 8:38-39 when he said, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So when we come up against these armies, these forces, these circumstances, these storms, these troubling events in our lives, we need to learn to counsel our hearts according to the truth, not to give in to our emotions or our rogue thoughts but to counsel our hearts according to what we know to be true from God’s Word, to tether our hearts to His Word and to what we know about the future.
We know that this is a broken and fallen world, and therefore, there will be hardship, affliction, and suffering. There is in this world, and will be until we come to the new world, sickness, death, pain, loss, and heartache. That’s one thing you know about the future, so when it happens, why are we so surprised? We know it’s coming, but we get in this fairytale mindset that everything should be good. Then when pain comes or hardship or suffering, we fall apart because we haven’t counseled our hearts according to the truth that hard times will come. That’s one thing we know about the future we need to remind ourselves.
Here’s another thing we know, and that is God is sovereign. He is in control, and nothing can touch my life or yours apart from God’s permission. He knows what’s coming. He knows what you’re going to be going through. He is in control. You know that He will walk with you through every hardship if we will let Him. Now, can two walk together except they be agreed? I have to be willing to agree with God about His truth, who He is, who I am, and about His mandates to be a joyful woman of strength and dignity. As I submit myself to Him, I can be assured that He will walk with me through that journey.
I know that God is too wise to make a mistake, and I know that He is too loving to do anything that would ultimately harm me and that if He does seemingly harm me, it’s for my ultimate good and His glory.
These are things we know. Write them in your heart. Remind yourself, and go back and counsel your heart according to the truth when your emotions are going bonkers, when your thoughts are saying, “It’s all over! It’s overwhelmed! I can’t survive!”
We know that suffering purifies and sanctifies. That’s truth. We know that it conforms us to the image of Christ, and so that’s why the psalmist could say in Psalm 119:71, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.” It’s good for me that I have been afflicted, and so we can even embrace the hand that holds the rod, the hand of God that disciplines and chastens and can make our lives seem difficult, knowing that He is purging. He has purified.
I know that God is a redeeming God who is making all things new, and I need to remind myself of that in the midst of uncertain times. I know that one day He will right all wrongs, and He will deliver us from all problems, all pain, and all sin, that He will eradicate those from the entire universe.
I know that time is short, and eternity is long. How foolish it is to waste the little bit of time I have here on this earth pining and moaning and resenting and resisting the very things God wants to bring into my life to help me be like Jesus, to help fit me for eternity! I know that if I’ll keep my eyes on the finish line, that Jesus is waiting there for me. Fixing my eyes on Him. “One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race” until we see His face, till we see the Lord.
One day, those of us who have placed our faith in Christ, who do belong to His family, will hear Him invite us into His heavenly dwelling place, His home, for all of eternity. We’ll hear Him say, “Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Now, when you think about that future, how can you not smile? How can you not laugh? How can you not be a woman of joy, even if your eyes are filled with tears for the moment?
- NIV Study Bible
- Laughing at the Time to Come