By Dr. Derwin L. Gray
Over the years of sitting at Jesus’ feet, I’ve found that the more time I spend with Him, the more I am connected to His heart. And somehow, in a way that only He understands, I am a better person because my love for people and their plight increases.
Mourning is necessary for Christians to understand and embrace. So often we are bombarded with messages of positivity and “keeping it moving.” We don’t take the time to slow down, feel pain, and mourn with those who are mourning. We want to move past those painful feelings and get back to the happy feelings. I have learned, however, that taking the time to sit in the pain is necessary for discipleship. There is no other option than to know God in our suffering and the suffering of others.
The Bible speaks of “lamenting.” Lamenting is a holy hurt. But the hurt is a pain that pushes us deeper into faith, hope, and love.
Deeper into faith in Jesus and His redemptive purposes.
Deeper into hoping, which is a knowing that one day all things will be made new.
Deeper into loving people.
In the midst of human suffering, having someone who cares for you, comforts you, prays with you, reads Scripture over you, and nurtures you through the rising river of pain is a gift. It’s as if God heals us as we become instruments of healing touch.
Those who lament will be cemented in God’s comfort. God’s comforting grace will be experienced in the present through the Spirit’s presence, and in the future, when ultimate redemption is realized in the new heavens and new earth. Just like the cross, out of great sorrow, comes great comfort. Happy are those whose hearts break for what breaks God’s heart, for they will be comforted.
Hope has a name, and it’s Jesus. Through His cross and resurrection, our bodies, along with all of creation, will be made whole. But until that time, God lovingly enters our suffering and is broken on a cross to heal our brokenness. Our hope is not a mere wish, but an assurance, because God, through the Holy Spirit, is pouring His love into our hearts.
Lament moves us to action.
Happy are those who lament, for they will be cemented in God’s comfort.
Help Others Mourn
How do we help our people mourn? There is no perfect formula, but I humbly offer these suggestions:
- Slow down. Do not rush past sin, hurt, and sadness. Take time to sit in it. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak through these feelings and do a work in you. As you experience suffering and mourn it, you will be conformed to the image of Christ.
- Pray. Talk to God about what is going on. Cry out to Him. Scripture is filled with God’s people crying out to Him. If you don’t have the words, know that the Holy Spirit groans on your behalf.
- Read Scripture. Again, we see many examples in Scripture of God’s people crying out to Him. Spend time in the Psalms. Remember God’s promises written in the Scriptures.
- Allow lament to move you to action. We have seen many instances, both in Scripture and in recent history, where lament moves people to action. They see hurt happening around them and decide to do something about it. Ask God how He is calling you to move to action.
- Spend time in community. God has given us a family to walk through difficult seasons together. Don’t try to go through mourning on your own. Lean on each other.
A Prayer for a Season of Mourning
Here is a prayer from my most recent book that I hope will minister to you as you walk through a season of mourning.
you are not distant or disinterested in us.
Thank you that I can approach your throne of grace and mercy in my time of need.
In every moment of every season, including moments of disappointment, doubt, and despair, you have determined to be present with us.
You enter our worst moments and teach us how to lament and long for a day when all wrongs are made right, when tears of sorrow turn to tears of joy, when hurts are healed.
Teach me to lament well. Teach me to cry out to you.
May my lament over our broken world be a battle cry of victory, for in Christ, we are more than conquerors in him who loved us.
As I lament, encourage my heart and cement me eternally in the truth that nothing will ever separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was originally published here on LifeWay voices. Reposted with permission.