Joy in the Mourning

Today, I walked around the house and I prayed. Before I prayed, I read the bible. It’s not easy to consistently make time to talk to God. But I do believe it’s always worth it. Today, I made sure to thank the Lord for everything I have. I also needed to remember my grandfather. In my mind, he was the true representative of who I aspire to be. It wasn’t so much his person I admired. It was his faith. My grandfather faced much shame throughout his life. He was embarrassed countless times by those he loved, but his faith was always strong. He had to be chosen to decide to go into ministry at the age he did. He was no spring chicken! šŸ™‚

I’m sure he had his own share of naysayers when he gave his heart to the Lord. I know his loss came at God’s appointed time. It took me years to understand the purpose that was buried behind all the grief our family endured. I know that purpose was certainly something I gained. I’m still learning how far the purpose extends, even today. It’s been roughly five or six years since he passed away. I feel as if he’d celebrate my spiritual growth, and my continuing thirst for realizing my gifts. However, some of us aren’t as fortunate as I am.

Some of us never move on from loss. Some of us hang on to loss as a reason to be angry. That anger left unchecked uncovers pride, manipulation, deception, shame, misery, blame, confusion, and heartache. We live thinking that if the person who died had never died, we would be okay. Death has a way of showing us just how dependent we were. Death has a way of unmasking our vulnerabilities.

Death has shown me three important truths:

1) Life is limited.
2) Death shows those who live on the impact of your life. You can identify the impact based on who mourns the loss.

3) Death unearths the different vantage points of those who shared the person’s life.

4) Death is an invitation to learning, and an urgency to get intimate.

The prophet Solomon wrote: It better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men and the living will lay it to his heart. Ecclesiastes 7:2

This scripture reminds me that those people who mourn properly, find more wisdom reflecting over their loved one. Those that fail to follow their grief down the road that it leads, often never progress past the point they were at, when their grief first began.

Jesus even welcomes the mourning heart. In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5… he counts the “mourning ones” as blessed and favored.

He says: Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

This shows me that we as human cannot stuff our pain in a box forever. Pain must be confronted. Who better to tell our pain to than the God who made us.

The old hymn, “What a Friend We Have In Jesus” says: Oh, what peace we often forfeit…

Oh, what NEEDLESS pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

I hear these words LOUDLY even though prayer has a very bad reputation.

I interpret them as saying: OH, how hard you make it for yourself, when you, a believer in me, don’t ask me, or tell me what you need.

Oh, how it hurts me, when you don’t thank me for anything…

You put yourself through more than you need to…because you’re so stubborn about bringing your problems to me, and I’m the only one who can help your spirit deal with it…

It heals my pain enough to forgive the past once more.

We face things that are needless because we don’t value the free grace that talking to God might gave us. I face a semester in college this past Fall, and can honestly say that because I prayed with people who cared of my success and loved the Lord, the burdens I faced were so much lighter.

There was many days that I need the ear of a thoughtful to MOURN about the adjustment that college life is, but for all my aches. I was met with enough humor, enough care, enough compassion to emerge blessed and grateful for any support that I received.

That’s what the right kind of “mourning” will do for you. It will fill your heart with wisdom, it will guide you towards compassion when you are terrified where the energy will come from.

Mourning will help you to find REAL joy, instead of momentary happiness.

Joy is not the absence of pain. Joy is a constant seizing of hope, when the road is still riddled with trials, pain, and much disappointment.

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