There are many seasons to life as Ecclesiastes says:
“A time to tear down, a time to build
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance”3:3-4
Some seasons it can be easy to “one another” in, sharing laughter is fairly straight forward and dancing together can be a time of great joy (or more laughter if you have two left feet).
However one anothering through a time to mourn is much more of a challenge. I seem to be in a place where, although not mourning myself, I have been journeying with a variety of people who are. So I thought I would share some of my reflections on this with you.
First of all, when I talk of grieving and mourning I am reflecting on a whole variety of experiences- not just bereavement. Life can bring us a variety of challenges: loss of a parent, divorce, grieving for children we never had, giving up dreams of lives we will never lead, the sadness of children far from God, the breakdown of relationships and ill health. All of these are things to weep over and mourn.
First thing I would says is that it is okay to be in this season, I think often as Christians we feel we have to be joyful (as in happy) all the time and can seem lost if our Christian brothers and sisters do not display this constantly too. Jesus wept over the death of Lazarus and mourned with Mary and Martha. Of all people, Jesus knew they would be reunited in heaven. Jesus knew that He would bring Lazarus back to life very shortly. But in that moment of shock, horror, and the wrongness of death, He came along side the sisters and wept with them. This should strongly encourage us to grieve and weep with one another. This doesn’t show a lack of trust in the resurrection but is an expression of the pain and loss we feel and the jarring of our fallen world. Deep in our hearts we know it was not meant to be this way.
The pain of separation and the agony of missing someone is not less just because you know you will be reunited one day, and we should draw alongside people as they go through this; not rushing them through it for our own comfort, but pointing them to Jesus as He grieves with them.
People also grieve over situations- be it the state of the world, family breakdowns or people turning from God. Again we can look to Jesus for support of how we can one another each other at these times.
In Luke 19:41 Jesus looked out over Jerusalem and He wept over it. He was grieving. He used words familiar to us all in our own lives “If you had only known…” This shows God himself gets upset over situations and relationship breakdown. In this instance it was the relationship between God and His people which had been destroyed. So we can bring these situations to Him in prayer and weep with one another. But Jesus also shows us that there is always hope: for out of Jerusalem was saved a remnant of people in the city who were lost but repented and were changed. From the darkest day of the cross a new world order was born.
So when you journey with people at these difficult times, weep with them, mourn with them and cry out to God. But remember the hope that is in Jesus and that this season too will pass.