Recently at a local High School that is represented in our Student Ministry a Senior Girl died in a car wreck. The school was absolutely shaken by the news. In the midst of the tragedy – the school did a great job of bringing in grief counselors and holding a meeting and giving the students time to grieve. My wife and I went up to the school that day and you could feel the heaviness and the brokenness…but you could also sense something else: God working.
Grief is the deep sorrow that comes from a tragedy or a loss.
Mourning is wrestling through the deep sorrow and learning to adjust to life without the person or thing that you have lost.
Both grief and mourning are very difficult things, because they involve DEEP SORROW. Webster’s dictionary and psychologist all over the world realize that it’s not enough to just describe it by ‘sorrow’ – but ‘DEEP sorrow’. And people around the world mourn in different ways, but we ALL mourn (or we should).
The theme of mourning or the words to mourn or mourning is mentioned over 100 times in the Holy Bible. People in the Bible mourned in all kinds of ways – tearing their clothes, weeping, screaming, fasting, wailing, etc. We see that God mourned and experienced deep sorrow surround thing events of the flood in Genesis. The Holy Spirit can grieve (Ephesians 4:30). Even Jesus Wept (John 11:35). Mourning is healthy ok and good. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything, even that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
How do you express deep sorrow? What’s acceptable and what’s not? What do you do with all the emotions and the shock and the lack of understanding?
What you have to realize is that everyone will mourn differently. We just have to know and keep in mind a few things:
1. God is with you and near to you
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are crushed in Spirit.” Psalm 34:18
2. God is still in control and completely sovereign
As Job was mourning tragic loss – “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.'” Job 1:20-21
3. That God hears you and the Spirit groans for you
“the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” Romans 8:26
4. That you WILL experience comfort
“Blessed are those who mourn; for they WILL be comforted” – Matthew 5:4
The God of the Universe experienced mourning in the fullest extent as He had to turn His back on His Son, Jesus while He bore the sins of the World (past, present, and future) on the cross. And certainly from that, Jesus Himself is more than capable to understand pain and deep sorrow. Which brings us to the point… As we mourn and experience deep sorrow and we are comforted – we get to experience the gospel in it’s earthly form. In those moments where God takes us form mourning into dancing – from sadness to joy – from brokenness to fullness – we experience is redemption on earth. We get a little glimpse of WHY God did what He did.
So, I thank God for mourning, because I know out of it comes healing, comfort, dancing, refuge, redemption, and rescue. Which brings us to the ultimate hope – the reason we can sing, dance, and worship, and say “Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”