Joy Comes in the Mourning: Night Falls
Joy Comes in the Mourning
The title to the series of messages we are about to embark upon is Joy Comes In The Mourning. There’s a little play on words. When we say the word morning we usually mean when the sun comes up. But the word in our title is mourning: m.o.u.r.n.i.n.g. When we are feeling and expressing our deep sorrow of a loss, most often the loss of something or someone we love, that grief is called mourning. There is a difference between grief and mourning, grief is what we are experiencing inside, mourning is how we demonstrate our feelings of grief. Grief is what we feel, mourning is what we express. The verse of scripture that will be our springboard into our exploration of mourning is Psalm 30:5
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Here the poet is giving us hope. Our heart ache will last through our night, but joy will replace it in the morning, when the sun comes up. Joy comes in the morning, m.o.r.n.i.n.g., but when does morning come? For our exploration morning comes through our mourning, m.o.u.r.n.i.n.g., the day of joy dawns as we express the agony in our soul.
Every loss is the blackest of nights. Every loss must be mourned. Loss of a business, loss of a job, loss of a marriage, a break up, a pet, the loss of a home, a dream, an expectation, a plan, require our lament to be sung, but we are going to address the loss of a loved one specifically. In this session we are going to focus on immediate mourning.
Seldom are we coached in how to mourn well. Our culture doesn’t like to consider death. Mourning is our lament, the expressing our emotions, our prayer of pain. The Psalms abounds in laments. In your notes you’ll will find scripture references to these laments. Psalm 22 is an example:
Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day long. No answer. Nothing. I keep at it all night, tossing and turning.
God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries. Don't turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is a cry for help! And hurry—this can't wait!
Another way you can help someone to mourn well is to listen to their complaint. They have a bone to pick with God, let them protest, question, and struggle. Guard their faith with your prayers (Colossians 1:9). What you don’t want to do is reassure them with Christian clichéd platitudes, like “God’s ways are not our ways.” “He’s in a better place.” “God needed her more than you.” Your task is not to correct, refute their thinking or offer them answers, but to comfort, and you comfort by affirming their struggle, encouraging them to fight on in faith.
You can help someone to mourn well by giving them a break from their responsibilities (Mark 6:31 b). Give them some alone time, take the kids out, but the purpose outing is not to cheer them up or distract them from their own pain, but to give them some space to express their pent up emotions and quiet time for your friend. Kids often don’t know how to handle loss, let them know that you are hurting too. Your presence lets them know that they are not alone.
Here’s what we have:
There is no time line for your expression of mourning to come to an end. The suffering starts with the news of the loss. For a day of joy to come you must express the grief that is inside you. Mourning is all about getting the pain in your heart out. That recent loss throws you, realize that you are no longer on top of your game, give yourself the gift of time, creating that space for yourself is part of mourning. Mourning well requires you to talk about your loss, you need someone to walk with you through these difficult days, someone you can confide in. You need to be honest with God, your lament is like a wrestling match with God, you demand answers, you search for meaning in the madness, this is time for authentic faith. Remember you don’t have it all together, to project an image that everything is all right, take off the mask, it’s OK to be a mess.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Do you know God? He is the one you need to have confidently by your side in the darkest of nights. Acknowledge your need for Him. Believe that Jesus has made fellowship with Him possible. Commit yourself to walking with Him. Ask God to draw near to you. He will lead you into the dawn.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."