A TIME TO MOURN BY WARI EKI
Phil 4:4, one of the most often quoted Bible verses, says “rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice”. A lot of people have misinterpreted this to mean that the only emotion we are supposed to feel is joy, and that feeling sad, down, or depressed is “unscriptural”.
As a result of this, we live with the mentality that it isn’t okay to identify, have or talk about our problems; we employ denial and repression as our coping strategies for grief rather than facing reality. When asked, “are you okay?” Or “what is wrong?” We are quick to answer, “I am fine!”
I have often heard people say, “as a Child of God, you should not be depressed” and so for a long time, when things happened that hurt me, rather than allowing myself to grieve as I should, I repressed and hid my emotions for fear of being judged as not being “Christian” enough. I refused to allow myself to feel, because I believed that by allowing it I was expressing a lack of faith and revealing imperfection. What we do not understand is that these emotions keep building up, and will ultimately find expression somewhere else.
In John 11:33, after Lazarus died and Jesus came saw all the people around Him crying, He was deeply moved in His spirit and troubled. He didn’t immediately start yelling at them to wipe their tears; He didn’t begin a sermon on faith; He didn’t berate them for mourning; He didn’t badger them into cheering up.
Then, in what is known as the shortest verse of the English Bible, we see that “Jesus wept” (v35). The human embodiment of the Godhead, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ WEPT. He did not deny the emotion He was feeling at that point, and instead allowed Himself to express it, even knowing fully well that He could bring Lazarus back to life.
Also, in Matthew 26:37, when He went to pray just before His crucifixion, we see that “He began to show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed”. He even told His friends, “my soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow” (v38, AMPC). He experienced all these emotions, and He was willing to admit them.
I believe that this shows we do not have to be happy ALL THE TIME. God created us with the ability to feel a wide range of emotions, and sadness is one of them. It does not make us less, it does not mean we are faithless.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 says that there’s “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”. So there will be times of weeping and mourning, and like Jesus, we are allowed to feel and express them and we must learn to allow others express themselves as well.
Whatever situation we are facing, we must know that we can go to Jesus for help, not hiding our tears or feeling guilty for our sadness, knowing that He understands and has even felt the same way and that through Him, grace is available to help us to cope (Hebrews 4:14-16).
We can find comfort and freedom even in our times of mourning, knowing that He is right there with us.