Hope in the Mourning
Usually, a girl expects to be awoken by a phone, a text message, an alarm, and small things like that. So, it was not exactly a surprise when I was woken up by a Viber message from overseas; I talked to my schoolmate for a bit, and then succumbed to sleep. The next time I woke up was around 11:41 a.m. to a piercing scream. I got out of bed and rushed out of my room to my mother’s room; but my sister had already arrived. At the door, I could hear my mother talking to my grandmother; her weeping drew me to the conclusion that someone in our family had passed away. At first I had no idea who it was. She mentioned the name once or twice, but I knew a lot of people by that name, so I could not identify the person. The only thing I was sure of was that my mother needed to be comforted in her loss. So I sat there, in silent comfort to her as she talked, whilst at the same time trying to figure out what is going on.
She kept on speaking the name but no mention of his family or his background. When she started asking about his parents, the answer dawned on me. When Mom affirmed my suspicions, I could not even think about holding back my own sob. Out of me poured a volcano of sorrow and salty tears, for a friend that I knew and loved too dearly since childhood. My body literally went numb and I was no longer feeling tired or hungry: just sadness and sorrow. Nothing more and nothing less. I was shattered at the truth of the death of one of my childhood friends. The memories of our childhood with him overtook my brain and all I knew was that I had to mourn.
I was shattered by the reality of this. But in the midst of it all, I was surprised to find that I felt peaceful and hopeful.
“How blessed are those who mourn! for they will be comforted.” -Matthew 5:4 (Complete Jewish Bible)
Over the last few weeks, the Lord had been whispering this verse from Matthew 5 to me. We all mourn for different reasons: brokenness, persecution, hatred, and most often, the death of a family member, friend, or loved one. But God promises that blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. There is always hope...a new dawn that is to come. I realize now that God was preparing me for this - for the loss of someone I loved and treasured.
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]God moves in mysterious ways and that is something we should always expect of Him.[/pullquote]
There will always be something in our lives that shatters us into pieces. Maybe it is losing someone close to us, being betrayed by someone we thought was a friend, going through loneliness and other tragedies no one in this world can understand. When these seasons happen, many questions run through our minds, especially as believers. Sometimes, we wonder why God would allow such things to happen, while other times we wonder if God really is out there like He promised. So, when my friend passed away, I expected myself to question God and why He would take him away so soon.
God moves in mysterious ways though and that is something we should always expect of Him. There are things in this life that we cannot explain and so our natural inclination is to blame God.
“‘For I know what plans I have in mind for you’, says Adonai, ‘plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future.'” -Jeremiah 29:11
Plans are made for all of us, even those who are called home too early. We can learn to trust that His plans are for good and that even in the mourning, we will receive comfort and mercy.
When I was grieving my friend's death, I did not want to do anything. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to do chores... I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to remember him, to pray for his family and for his safe passing into heaven. In the midst of my grief, I was beginning to hear the words to a song that the Lord put in my mind: "Blessings" by Laura Story. The most powerful part of the song is the chorus in which she sings about mercies in disguise.
The thought of having trials as a form of mercy in disguise is scary, but it encourages us to use this time of grief to seek His face, to return to Him, and to find comfort solely in His word. As it says in James 4:9-10 “Wail, mourn, sob! Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into gloom! Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Trivial things are not what matter in this life. There is something greater at work, something more powerful and more fulfilling. God’s involvement in our everyday lives is not something we pick and choose, but something we surrender ourselves to. In full surrender, we are introduced to something glorifying:
“Whoever puts his trust in Me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in Me will never die.” -John 11:25-26