The Journey and Ministry of Mourning
David McCasland wrote a devotional in "Our Daily Bread," entitled: The Ministry of Mourning." It was dated, Thursday, September 7, 2017. He discusses an event that occurred in 2002. It seems that his sister Martha and her husband, Jim died in an accident, a friend invited him to a "Growing Through Grief" workshop at his church. He reluctantly agrees to attend the first session but had no intention of going back. But to his surprise, he discovered a caring loving community of people who also were trying to make some sense and find comfort among those who had also experienced the trauma of death.
I too, remember being invited by the bereavement counseling group at Saint Francis Hospital, I think It was called the Palliative Care Unit. They invited me to come to their sessions on bereavement. They were so kind to me the day that time was lying unresponsive in the ICU after having had a heart attack, which was only the underlying problem of being terminally diagnosed with lung cancer. They brought me a beautiful red knitted shawl. I still have it today.
Howbeit, when you lose a loved one suddenly, you are numb for weeks, if not months. Those of us who are Christians do have our faith to help us gather our wits, our soul, our strength and the faith community to help us make it through the darkness and unexplained mystery of death. People sometimes do not realize that the "Faithful" do struggle with death and dying just as others who may not have a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
The death of a parent, spouse, child or best friend leaves you in shock and disbelief. It does so in these times in which we live, and it did so back in the days on antiquity. Mary and Martha grieved when their brother Lazarus died. The Bible says that even Jesus wept!!! A shocked group of mourners was sorrowful when Stephen, a dynamic witness for Jesus, brought shock and sorrow to those in the early church (Acts 7:57-60). A great persecution was begun and These new Christians were sought after, scattered, placed in jail, beaten and some were killed. But in the face of Stephen being murdered, Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him" (8:2). These men of faith did two things together: They buried Stephen, which is an act of finality and loss. And then they cried, wept and mourned deeply for him, which is a shared expression of their sorrow.
As followers of Jesus, we need to follow suit. It is our custom to mourn, have a funeral, eulogy, and burial for our loved ones. It puts brings finality, closure to our loved ones earthly sojourn here on this side. However, no one should ever nor should you allow them to place you in a box with all other grievers. There is no set time when your personal mourning should be over. Only you and God know when you have arrived at that place of peace of knowing that, "All Is Well," especially if you loved one died in Christ. We know, have faith and confidence in where our loved ones will spend eternity, according to the Word of God. That is usually not the issue, even with the most devout saint. The issue is usually the human contact and sorrow that we must face in not seeing, handling and talking to them ever again. We miss the relationship knowing that we will never have that kind of relationship ever again, not on earth and not in heaven.
As followers of Christ, we do not have to mourn our losses alone. If you are in Christ, a member of a local church, or if you know other faithful followers of Christ, you can reach out to them. People genuinely want to help the grieving soul, but not everyone is qualified to do so. Therefore, you must have discernment, or trust the judgment of family, your pastor, and trusted others to lead you to someone who is qualified to assist you. We must learn to accept the concern of those who can and will stand beside us in our grief.
As we grieve together, we can grow in understanding and in peace that the Lord Jesus gave us and entrusted to us as believers. He promised never to leave us or forsake us. He promised to give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. God alone knows the deepness of our sorrow. His spirit is always actively seeking to heal our mind, body, and spirit. We must trust him because, we have such a High Priest, in Jesus Christ, who is touched by all our griefs, pain, weaknesses and sorrows. Jesus tasted death for us. He experienced all of the things we humans go through, and that is why H can be trusted with our pain.
But he has left others down here with the gift of compassion, mercy, healing, counsel, and wisdom. Let us embrace life. Christ died so that we might experience abundant living. Let us not through it away because of fear, and being overwhelmed with our pain and grief. Jesus Christ is able to deliver us to the utmost in every situation.
Father God, Abba, help us to "mourn with those who mourn" and grow together in compassion for others as you deliver us and heal us by your grace. Amen.
Have a great day tomorrow and Don't forget to say your prayers.