At a recent Evangelical Alliance council meeting, those gathered spent time in a short reflection. We thought and prayed for the victims of war. For those who had lost families and suffered immeasurable pain. We thought of the weak, the suffering, the broken throughout the world.

At another time, we prayed for the British royal family in their time of sorrow and mourning, asking that God might strengthen them. Rich or poor, influential or unknown, part of our human existence is that we all face mourning and sorrow. Nobody escapes tears, pain and a deep sense of loss.

When I was a parish minister in Scotland, I sometimes had to lead up to 50 funerals in a year. I have visited those who have lost loved ones after a long battle with illness and others who lost someone suddenly. The sense of pain, weeping and disbelief were equally real to all. The toxic emotional cocktail of helplessness, vulnerability, regret and loss is endured by us all.

The Bible has lots to say about this most basic part of the human condition, and I briefly want to highlight three major thoughts we find in its pages.


Firstly, while mourning and weeping come to us all, they do pass. Life changes and moves on. Open wounds slowly close and we find a new day when consolation is found in remembrance and hope. The hope found in the understanding and care of God. Psalm 30:5 says, weeping may stay for night, but rejoicing comes in the morning”.

The hope, found in God, that the situation will get better in time, is a theme that runs throughout the biblical narrative. While pain and sorrow are realities, they are not permanent. God has something more for us.

"While pain and sorrow are realities, they are not permanent. God has something more for us."

Secondly, Jesus understood and experienced sorrow. In Luke 19:41, just after Jesus came into Jerusalem with the praises of the crowd ringing in His hears, we read that He saw the city and wept over it.” Jesus felt a deep sorrow for the inhabitants of the city and the hardness of their hearts. Jesus was deeply moved by their condition.

In the suffering servant passages by the prophet Isaiah, we are told that the servant – pointing to Jesus – is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). One of the great consolations we can give to people is that, when we pray to Jesus, we are not talking to a distant deity with no understanding of sorrow. Rather, we are coming to someone who understands our mourning and loss. One who fully entered into our human experience, weeping and mourning, identifying with us in our hurt and drawing near to us in our pain.

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Lastly, we see our mourning through the victory of Jesus over sin and death. In His life, death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus has destroyed the power of death. This is the good news of the message of Jesus. Death has been defeated, and sorrow is seen in the light of victorious hope.

This hope allows the apostle Paul to write:

Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Where oh death is your victory?

Where oh death is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

This sentiment of hope and victory was carried on by the apostle John who, in his vision of heaven and a greater life to come through the work of Christ, wrote these famous and powerful words:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

In our journey of life, we face lots of pain and we carry massive wounds. The business of life is a frail and painful one. In this time, a sense of mourning is even more acute for many. As people of faith, we must compassionately, lovingly direct people to look at their sorrow through the lens of Jesus, who points beyond the real sorrows to the even more real hope found in Him.

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