Monday, September 4, 2017
No Time for Mourning
Ezek. 24:19 Then the people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things mean for us, that you are acting this way?” 20 Then I said to them: The word of the Lord came to me: 21 Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and your heart’s desire; and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword. 22 And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your upper lip or eat the bread of mourners. 23 Your turbans shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and groan to one another. 24 Thus Ezekiel shall be a sign to you; you shall do just as he has done. When this comes, then you shall know that I am the Lord God.
Ezekiel’s own life experience was to be a prophetic expression to the people of Jerusalem. His wife died in the night and yet he had no time to properly mourn. He would have to go on with life and hide his pain from those around.
The people didn’t understand that they would soon be losing Jerusalem. They had fooled themselves into believing that there would never be any punishment for their infidelity. When the time came, they would be whisked off by their captors and there would be no time for mourning. Their broken hearts would have to remain hidden as they masked their pain before their tormentors.
It would be in the moment of personal pain and affliction that the Israelites would remember the this had been prophesied. Then, they would remember that Yahweh was God. When there is no time for mourning, we discover the God of all peace and comfort. God would always hear the cries of the people.
My heart goes out today to the people of Texas, India, and Bangladesh who can probably relate to the fact that there is no time for mourning. Whether it’s the loss of life, or the loss of a household, there is pain in the streets of many cities. And yet, there is no time for mourning, for they must keep going and begin tackling the massive amount of work which lies before them. For days on end they will be busy mucking out their homes, businesses, and churches. For some there will be an opportunity to make things new, for others it will be a total loss. Eventually fatigue will capture their bodies and their minds, but even in the midst of this crisis, we are reminded that Jesus is Lord. Those of us who are not affected are called upon to intercede for those who are struggling in the midst of this tragedy so that they will experience the supernatural power and strength of our Lord God.
The Israelites would have no time for mourning because of their infidelity, but even in that situation, God remained faithful. It wasn’t going to feel like it at the moment, but God would continue facing in the direction of those who were called children. Today we suffer the consequences of a fallen world. There may be times when we cannot mourn, but it is in that moment that we are reminded that Jesus is still Lord! There is far too much that doesn’t make sense and we wonder where to turn. In those times it’s always right to turn toward our holy God. God wants to comfort us in our pain. God wants to walk with us through our mourning, even when we feel as if we can’t slow down long enough to do it properly.
The people of Jerusalem needed a wake-up call. Sadly, they would only wake up when they discovered they had no time to mourn. We don’t have to wait for calamity to befall us before we turn to the Lord. God is patiently waiting and will lovingly comfort those who mourn.
Lord, please help me to create the space every day where I can know you more and learn to follow your gentle leading. Amen.