Joy in the Mourning

27 January 2021

We see in Nehemiah 8 a perfect example of sorrow or mourning leading to the celebration and resulting in joy.

Nehemiah the governor, along with Ezra the priest and scholar, and the Levites who were teaching the people, said to all the people, “This day is holy to God, your God. Don’t weep and carry on.” They said this because all the people were weeping as they heard and understood God’s Law. The people felt sadness because they were aware of their own sin. Then Nehemiah said it’s time to stop crying and move on. v. 10 He continued, “Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!”

He said it was time to celebrate. They could walk in joy because God was doing great work and he gave strength. Our emotions are not beyond our control; we can do God’s will even when we don’t feel like it. Because of their great obedience to God, they could rejoice. We can be deceived into thinking the path of gladness is in doing our own thing, but gladness and freedom come only through obedience. The truth in Scripture is worth celebrating.

As believers, we celebrate life at its conclusion, and at the same time, we mourn our loss. Where “funerals” used to be very solemn events, today a celebration of life might include funny memories and pictures that make us smile. With God, mourning doesn’t have the final say—as Psalm 126:5-6 tells us: “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy. He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” And in Psalm 30 we are reminded “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Crying or feeling your emotions is not a sign of weakness. Jesus wept and Psalm 56:8 tells us that God collects our tears in His bottle…so not only does he know every tear that falls, but he keeps track of what makes you cry so that he can heal, comfort, and give you joy in a way unique only to you. James 1 also reminds us to Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…

Jesus had to suffer; He had to endure the pain. He had to weep so that one day we wouldn’t have to. Revelation 21:4 encourages us in this hope: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

Whatever trial or sorrow you are facing today; Jesus is right there with you and feels your pain. God is collecting your tears and he will restore your joy.

Deb Hill
Executive Assistant