Joy Comes in the Mourning
The words that follow are words that I actually wrote this time last year. Between Halloween & New Year’s of 2013, I knew 13 people who died. Some were friends, others were acquaintances, & yet others were relatives of friends. But that meant I spent quite a bit of time going to funerals & memorial services. I just ran across this piece, & thought I would share it. Though I thankfully have not seen as many lives touched by people passing away this holiday season, I think that the deeper message I was trying to convey about hopes, dreams & visions being resurrected still rings true, whether in the physical or metaphorical sense. For those who are in mourning, your joy is coming!!!
I have been in mourning of late: mourning for lives that have left this earth with wishes unfulfilled due to the sand reaching the bottom of the hourglass; for rewards unclaimed due to loss of the tickets that would gain access; for dreams that have turned into nightmares due to too many imaginings by tortured subconsciouses; for hopes that have met with unforeseen disappointments due to a lack of proper vision; and for fruit that has withered on the vine due to a lack of faith. But I have been reminded that joy not only “comes in the morning”, but that it also comes in the MOURNING.
One of my favorite pastors ever preached at a funeral a couple of days ago, & he posed the question that people have pondered for many centuries: “Why did Jesus allow Lazarus to die?” I am but a layman, but why indeed?? I have given that some thought of late, as I have been experiencing some personal difficulties that have left me asking the Universe “WHY?!?” Had Lazarus not died, then his friends would have never seen Jesus weep with earthly compassion. This is our example for realizing that we do not have to be ashamed when we experience earthly grief, sorrow, and compassion. Had Lazarus not died, then we would not have seen that sometimes, even though our Lord is right there beside us, we will have to endure devastating disappointments. But even so, He remains ever-present, & not only sees our tears, but weeps with us, & for us. Had Lazarus not died, then he would not have had to be resurrected, and the immense joy that must have flowed out of that event must certainly have been immeasurably more than if he had just been healed from sickness.
Think about it: A situation where ALL HOPE WAS GONE. There was NOTHING LEFT, but to mourn, weep, & bury the dead. How very amazing, wonderful, & magnificent it must have been when Lazarus awoke from the dead. Can you even begin to comprehend such a happening? Can you imagine, for one moment, being there, as one of his family members or friends that was consumed with soul-wrenching sorrow, then hearing the incredible news? What a marvelous relief! What a heartfelt reunion!! What a renewal of faith!!!
As we mourn those that have passed on before us, let us rejoice together in the amazing good news that they will be resurrected! Let us not forget that they, as believers, will indeed be awakened with the Master’s touch with another, better body. As we mourn the earthly rewards that we have not had access to, let us remember that, as long as we have life left, we have a chance to claim other rewards here on earth that may even better than those we had desired. If not here, then in Heaven, for the rewards there will be great indeed. As we mourn dreams that have been lost to nightmares, let us know that God can heal our subconscious minds so that we can imagine anew, and that not all dreams have bad endings. As we mourn the fruit that died on the vine, let us have faith that Spring will make an appearance yet again, and after we have pruned away the dead, rotting wood, the vine will once again be capable of producing fruit.
When we fall on our faces to weep, may we feel His own tears fall on our heads as we allow our grief to come forth. Then, may we awaken in the morning with our dreams revived, our hopes renewed, and our faith restored, as we witness firsthand the power of the resurrection. Without the death of those dreams, there would be no need for a revival. Help us, Lord, to focus on knowing that our mourning will result in joy. Let us remember that our tribulations, our trials, our relationship difficulties, our career challenges, our health issues, all of these things and more will one day end, only to clear the way for fresh perspectives. Every sunrise signifies a brand new beginning. Joy DOES come in the mourning!
~ Lou Lehman Sams