A Time to Mourn
There’s so much JOY in life! So many things to take tremendous pleasure in! Love! Music! Good food! Friends! The laughter of kids! God’s grace and His relentless pursuit of us! Etc. Etc. Etc.!!!! There is a time to take all that in and let it expand your soul and raise your spirit higher.
But there’s also so much pain too, isn’t there? War. Famine. Addiction. Abuse. Struggle. Loss. There are oceans and galaxies of pain.
Out of all the pain I have experienced myself and other’s pain I’ve empathized with, a woman I saw limping in a parking lot the other day profoundly struck me. Her pain caused me to just look at her and wonder, “What caused the limp?” Was she born with a condition? Did she get into an accident? Maybe she simply broke a toe? I don’t know. I wished I could help her, but there was no way I could.
What caused the limp in you?
We all limp, don’t we?
We are told to persevere.
To keep going.
To pull ourselves up by the bootstraps.
And so we do.
But the pain remains… it doesn’t go away because things have happened and continue to happen. Words were said. Abuse was inflicted. Relationships fell apart. Someone we would die for, dies. We are rocked to our core and yet we have to keep moving forward.
One of the problems of our culture in this day and age is that we don’t create space or a safe place for mourning. In years past, people would have elaborate ceremonies and set aside time just to mourn. Even today in other cultures around the world, if someone dies, the community wails and weeps and extravagantly grieves.
In our culture, often times people cry at a funeral and apologize for not having themselves put together. What’s that all about?
God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time, “to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”
We should always take time to laugh and dance. But we must also take time to weep and mourn. If we don’t take that time, the pain stays and builds and festers and turns into the gangrene of the soul. If we mourn, God joins us, and the healing process begins.
So…how do we mourn?
Being connected in this day and age is tough. We can live right next door to someone and know practically nothing about them. We don’t even have to leave our house to get groceries anymore. So it’s going to take real intentionality. It will take some courage, but tell someone you love that things just aren’t ok. They want to help, more than you know. Maybe you need to join a community group?
Keep coming to God with your hurts and wounds and fears and doubts and even your wordless groans. We are told in Romans 8 that the Spirit of God translates those groans into prayers. Apparently God speaks the language of pain. And of course He does. He adopted and embodied pain to a degree that no person will ever understand. He does this FOR us…then He offers to go through pain WITH us.
Keep your prayers simple; be honest. Shake your fists to the heavens if you must, God’s a big God…He can handle it. He just wants all of you.
I’m a firm believer that everyone needs counseling at some point in their lives. CCV has a tremendous counseling department. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds, I promise. Just call up the church and ask for the Care Department. Don’t live near CCV? Ask your local pastor for a reference for counselors.
Just remember, you will get through this and you are not alone.
God has not left you.
Josh is a husband, father, pastor, and aspiring laundromat missionary. He is incredibly curious about the way people connect with each other and with God.