The first mourning on the earth was probably Eva’s mourning over her son Abel’s dead body after he was killed by his brother Cain. Or maybe Adam and Eve mourned their expulsion from the Garden of Eden as they turned back to take the last look of the indescribable beauty of God’s garden. In any case, mourning is a result or fruit of departing from God and violation of His commandments.
But an interesting thing is that God put our cure into the fruit of our sins! People made the heaviest and most terrible sin in the history of humankind: they crucified the Son of God, Jesus Christ. But the holy blood of Jesus now flows from His wounds, washing away the sins of those who took part in His crucifixion (and all people crucified Him with their sins) but repented of what they’ve done. Just like the prodigal son, people waste the inheritance given to them by their Heavenly Father, but those who come to bankruptcy and hopelessness come back to the Father. We get physically ill as a result of our sinful lives but often our illness humbles us and brings us back to sobriety, so that we turn to God for help with all our hearts. If mourning is a result of recognition of our sins, it becomes good in essence, if only it is sincere, honest, and heartfelt. This is a cure to our souls.
If we are honest before God and wise enough, we have a lot of reasons for mourning. As we look at the surrounding world, we see that “there is lying, and swearing, and killing, and stealing, and the committing of adultery; and blood touches blood” (Hosea 4:2). “But I said, I pine away, I pine away, woe is me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth” (Isaiah 24:16-17). This happens all over the world, in all social strata. If we look at ourselves, we can say together with Apostle Paul, “that which I do, I know not. For what I desire, that I do not do; but what I hate, that I do… For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do… For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin being in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:15-24). “ And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will become cold” (Matthew 24:12). Wisdom that comes from the Lord opens our eyes to the true situation, because “For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). But this is no vanity. A wise man is always realistic; he is not pessimistic because he always hopes in the Lord; neither is he stupidly optimistic as one such person was heard saying, “Everything is fine even though I’ve slipped and fell” while falling down from a sky-scraper.
The Lord revealed to prophet Ezekiel the picture of God’s judgment which is usually hidden from the eyes of men. “Let the overseers of the city draw near, even each with his destroying weapon in his hand… And Jehovah said to him, Go through in the midst of the city, in the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men who are groaning and are mourning because of all the abominations that are done in her midst. And He said to those in my hearing, Go over in the city after him, and strike. Let not your eye spare, nor have pity. Fully destroy old men, young men and virgins, and little children and women. But do not come near any man on whom is the mark” (Ezekiel 9:1-6). There are times when we can do nothing to change the world around us as it is sinking in sins and lawlessness. At a time like this, it is enough to “to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). The Lord told the believers of the Church of Thyatira, “ I will put on you no other burden. But that which you have, hold fast until I come” (Revelation 2:24-25). At a time like this, the Lord chooses someone, like prophet Elijah to proclaim His word and to testify of God’s power upon him. But these are isolated ministers of God in such situations. The other “seven thousand men” who do not bow down to the modern-day idols, like other people who mourn and wail before the Lord for the general digression and moral decay – only the Lord knows them by name (1 Kings 19:18). And He seals them with the “promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13) before the judgment is poured on the lawless world.
“For the grief according to God works repentance to salvation, not to be regretted, but the grief of the world works out death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). There is grief over injured selfishness which produces blossoming pride. There is grief over unrealized goals which speaks of the lack of humility before the Lord. There is grief of unsatisfied desires which speaks of life by flesh. There is grief of despair and hopelessness which shows the loss of faith and hope. All of these and many others are grief and mourning in a worldly way, producing death.
Unlike them, the grief according to God irrigates the soil of our souls, making it suitable for growing the seeds of God’s grace. The tears of repentance and contrition, the tears of hunger for the face of God, the tears of intersession for fellow men, the tears of seeing His greatness, His glory and love, the tears of forgiveness and prayers to the Heavenly Father. Such tears are pleasing to the Lord; He gathers them preciously and records them in His memorable book in heaven. “O put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your Book?” (Psalm 56:8). In His timing, God answers those who cry before Him and gives them the joy of salvation and blessing. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6). He will gladly let them find Him, get comforted and rejoice in His presence. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God… My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day, Where is your God?… Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why do you moan within me? Hope in God; for I still praise Him, the salvation of my face, and my God” (Psalm 42). After the existence of our world is over, when those who have been saved enter their inheritance of the new heaven and new earth, God Himself will “wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away” (Revelation 21:4).