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Posts Tagged ‘Mourning’

Come Mourn with Me

Scripture: (Job 2:11,13 NKJV)  Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. . . 13So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

Observation: Job had lost everything he owned, but his worst tragedy was the loss of all his children.  When he became physically ill, his wife had had enough and told him to “curse God and die.”  But then we read that his friends came to be with him and to comfort him, and they sat with him for seven days straight, without saying a word, just being there.

Application: One of the most tragic results from the death of a child is the demise of the marriage.  Many couples simply can’t handle their pain and end up drifting apart and eventually separating and divorcing.  It is very difficult to offer support and encouragement to your spouse when your own heart is breaking.  At the same time, nothing can bring a couple together like experiencing a loss and growing together out of it.  My wife and I have gone through the loss of my mother and both her parents, and several other family members.  Those times, as difficult as they have been, have strengthened our relationship and are part of our history that keeps us together.
But there are times when we need help from outside too, and the tragic death of a loved one is a perfect time to offer or receive the comfort and encouragement of a dear, close friend.  One of the questions many people have in their minds when visiting someone who’s lost a loved one is, what should I say?  Job’s friends teach is a very important lesson: when visiting a grieving friend it is more important to just be there and listen than what you say.  After all, what can you possibly say that would take their pain away, or make their burden any easier?  But what is very therapeutic and very cathartic for them is to talk through their pain and what better person to do so but a close friend.  Someone said that “pain shared is pain divided,” which means that when we share our pain with others, we all get to carry it together, which makes it easier and lighter for the one experiencing it.  That’s why being there for the mourner is your gift to them, the ministry of presence.  Don’t be afraid to be with those in mourning; it may be the best, most kind, and most loving thing you can do for your friend or loved one.

Prayer: Father, in the midst of our pain, you listen to us and come close to us to comfort us.  Thank You for the healing You bring us through our pain.

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Scripture: Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom; my son, my son Absalom; if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!”    (2 Sam 18:33 NKJV)

Observation: Absalom had show his rebellious spirit when he killed his brother Amnon, albeit to avenge the rape of his sister at the hands of Amnon, and by sitting at the gate of the city in judgment as if he were the king.  That spirit of rebellion ripened into a coup d’état against his own father, King David.   But for Absalom it was not enough that he had routed his father, he wanted to destroy him completely, so he pursued him as David fled.  Among the things for which Absalom was known was a head full of long, thick hair.  While pursuing David, Absalom ran under the thick boughs of a terebinth tree, his hair got caught in them and he was left hanging in mid air exposed to the enemy.  Joab, David’s general, came and killed him there.
Joab sent news to David of Absalom’s death, and today’s text tell us of his reaction to the news.  And while Israel could have been celebrating the victory and the fact David could now return to Jerusalem, they all felt awkward by seeing the king mourning.  Joab chastised the king for not affirming the troops which protected him and who won this victory over those who were pursuing him.

Application: I have been told by those going through it that there is no more painful death than the death of a son or daughter, regardless of their age.  I remember being at the hospital with the mother of a stillborn child and a few months later in another room nearby with the parents of a three-year-old.  As a police chaplain I had to give a family the news of the tragic death on a motorcycle of their seventeen-year-old son and have officiated at the funeral of a forty-five year-old daughter who died of cancer.  During times like these and many others like them, the parents have told me again and again how that the death of their parents or a sibling or a dear friend was painful but their pain at losing a child was so much worse, almost unbearable.  Even if their son or daughter had left the fold, like Absalom, their death was nonetheless sad for their parents.
It seems like the right order of events should always be that as you get older and your parents age by the time they die you are old enough to accept it as a natural part of life.  I lost my dad when I was fifteen years old and my mom when I was 42 years old, and their deaths affected me in different ways.  At any rate, it is expected that at some point in time your parents will pass on.  But your child will always be younger than you and thus you don’t expect to have them die before you; it is not the normal way of life.  For Adam and Eve, the murder of their son Abel, particularly at the hand of his brother Cain, must have been horrible.  For David the death of his first son with bathsheba and not of Absalom was most painful.  For God the death of His Son Jesus must have been most difficult.  And yet, he experiences the death of so many of His children every single day!  That’s why during the difficult, painful days following the death of a child we can find comfort in Him who truly knows what it is like to loose a child.  And with God, it’s not just the He understands, but somehow He also brings the healing we need.

Prayer: Father, I pray none of us ever experience the death of one of our children; bless them and protect them.  For those who have, bless them and comfort them, and may Your comforting, loving arms surround them during their time of mourning until healing comes.

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