I Samuel 25:1
As I have been reading through I Samuel chronologically, there have been a few stops in Psalms. Those of you that are on this journey with me, know that I have been aching to get back into I Samuel. I feel like I left David hanging. He is hiding from Saul, and I need to get back there to get him to safety. 🙂 Nevertheless, God had many beautiful lessons and comforts for me in the Psalms, for which my heart is glad.
So finally, FINALLY, today is the day. I am back in I Samuel. And what is the first verse? The first three words I read?
Then Samuel died;
Wait, what? No, no no!! Samuel can’t die. Not now. David needs Samuel. He is the one who has mentored him, anointed him, prayed for him. Samuel. What will David do without Samuel? Oh the feelings that must have surged through David’s heart. Will the calling still be fulfilled? Who will take his place? What will happen to the people? What now?
and the Israelites gathered together and lamented for him
What happens now? The answer is simple, but it might surprise you.
What do they need to do first before anything else?
It has to be done. Nothing else can happen until it does. And this verse, this one, matter of fact verse, seemingly separate from the rest of the chapter, bears more relevance to me and a million other people in the world right now than most of us would care to think about.
What is mourning? It is the outward expression of grief.
Who is mourning?Well, it might be easier to answer ……… who isn’t?
Mourning happens as a result of loss. The death of a loved one is the most commonly spoken of reason for grief, but there are countless other losses that evoke this same type of feeling.
The loss of a dream. The loss of a home. The loss of a marriage. The loss of a job. In David’s case? The loss of a leader.
This great loss…..
The Bible specifically mentions those that mourned loss.
In Numbers 14:39
, The Israelites mourn the loss of entering the promise land. Dreams and expectations shattered.
In Psalm 119:136
, the Psalmist mourns the sins of God’s people. He says, “Tears stream down from my eyes, because they do not keep Your law.
tells us that the land mourns because of Israel’s sin and because of the consequences
that have come upon the land as a result of that.
More often than not, feelings of grief are ignored and left unidentified causing decades of damage.
I have felt deep grief a handful of times. And those early days? When you are going about your day, and all of a sudden remember that your life is never going to be the same again? Those moments that take your breath away and make you literally shake your head in disbelief? That is grief. Even if no one has died.
Disclaimer: I love my brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, I dare you to find a more ardent defender of the bride of Christ than I. But this needs to be said. Allowing others to mourn, is not our specialty. Grief makes us so uncomfortable.
It usually takes about 3.4 seconds after hearing the news that someone’s loved one has died for them to hear the following exchange:
Was he a Christian?
Well, at least he’s in a better place.
Or how about a women that cannot bear a child? How many times has she heard a flippant, “Well, you can always adopt right?” This is not compassion.
Look, I am as big a fan of Pollyanna’s glad game as anyone, I am just saying, it would be a good idea to apply scripture in these instances.
Bear each other’s burdens.
Mourn with those that mourn.
Not without hope. No. We have hope. We have The Hope. But some rush so fast through the “We mourn” part of that verse and only express the “hope” part.
Recently I gave a mom permission to cry her eyes out after the death of her son. Her response? Relief and surprise. It’s ok, I stressed to her. I needed her to know that she wasn’t somehow less spiritual because of her deep sadness. The fact that she didn’t know this was a wake up call to me. How did she not know that it is within her absolute right as a mom, nay a Christian mom, to sob uncontrollably for what she has lost? What have we done when a mother feels guilty for appropriately mourning the loss of her son?
Why are we rushing people past their God given imperative to mourn, just to put on a happy face? Don’t do it. If you are mourning, take it to God. Let Him walk you through it. If you know someone who is mourning a loss, any loss, mourn with them.
Don’t rush me. I won’t do it. I am allowed to mourn. No matter how often you tell me God has a plan, I will just tell you that I know He has a plan, and mourning is part of it. Mourning doesn’t make you any less of a Christian. It doesn’t mean you don’t have joy. Or strength. Or faith. On the contrary. It takes faith to let yourself sob, heaving uncontrollable sobs, on someone’s shoulder. It takes strength to reach out to someone and let them know you need help, that you need a burden bearer.
Grief isolates. Mourning brings people together.
Mourning does not look the same for everyone. I am not an expert. I only know what it looks like for me.
Writing. I have to write. I have to organize my thoughts.
Talking. I need someone to know I am sad and be sad with me. I need to be understood and be able to express my thoughts.
Crying. It cleanses me.
Praising. I have never reached my hands higher to God than I have in those lowest of low moments. Praise songs rise from my lips as tears fall to the floor. And I am healing.
Meditating on scripture. I need a go to verse.
Laughter I don’t want to brag, but I have some of the funniest friends on the planet. And with one word, they can make me laugh out loud, erasing the pain, if only for a moment.
There are a lot of wounded people walking around that have never allowed themselves to mourn, and some actually feel that this is the godly way.
My dear friend is always saying “We need more burden bearers.” And I couldn’t agree more. You don’t need the perfect words to say. Just be there. Hug. Sit. Pour a glass of water.
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
since that is the end of all mankind,
and the living should take it to heart.
3 Grief is better than laughter,
for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in a house of pleasure.
In your moment of mourning. Take note. Learn. Oh there is so much to learn. Soak in the presence of God. Feel every feeling. Invite your family and friends to mourn with you. Turn to each other, not on each other. God promises to turn our mourning into laughter, our weeping into dancing. He says there is a time to cry. It will not last forever, but it. must. be.
If we do not mourn properly, grief turns to bitterness and despair.
I pray for those that are mourning, by name. I know so many of you. Too many. Join with me. Lift up your brothers and sisters in prayer. Call. Email. Text. Love. Bear burdens. We are the church. We.Are.The.Church. We are family. And they will know we are Christians by our love for one another.