Time to Mourn

“Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. So, Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, ‘I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.’ And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, ‘Hear us, my lord: You are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.’ Then Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. And he spoke with them, saying, ‘If it is your wish that I bury my dead out of sight, hear me, and meet me with Ephron the son of Zohar for me, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he has, which is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me at the full price, as property for a burial place among you.’”—Genesis 23:1-9 (NKJV)

As a pastor, I often serve people who have lost a loved one. It’s heartbreaking and hard, yet it is a humble privilege to speak God’s comfort from His Word and give hope to the hurting.

Abraham suffered the loss of his beloved Sarah. This is the first record of tears in the Scriptures. Pastor Jon Courson says tears were not mentioned due to the fall of man nor the flood, but at the death of Abraham’s wife, God mentions tears. 

Psalm 56:8 (NKJV) says, “Put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” In ancient times, women wore small tear bottles that fit against the cheek to catch tears. The women would give this precious possession to the one she loved most. For example, the woman in Luke 7:38 washed Jesus’ feet with her tears because she loved Him. 

Tears are unique. Did you know that when looked at under a microscope, the saline crystals in a tear are shaped in the form of a cross? It’s as if the Lord is saying, “I know. I understand. I wept, too.” God doesn’t say, “Deal with it.” Instead, He lets us know that what we’re going through is precious to Him.

A touching moment of Jesus’ ministry is at the death of Lazarus. Lazarus’ sisters are brokenhearted and grieving. The shortest verse in Scripture is “Jesus wept” (John 11:35 NKJV). He was not weeping for Lazarus, yet for those who saw death as permanent and final, with no hope. Jesus had a plan for Lazarus and raised him from the dead. He will do that for those who believe in Him.

In 2000, my family lost three parents in three months. We felt like we had been in a multiple car wreck. The Lord covered us by His presence, and people showed care by asking how we were doing.

On this side of heaven, we face death and dying. Ecclesiastes 3: 2, 4 says there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to mourn. God is a wonderful comforter and is near to us in our pain. Grieving is a part of healing our hearts. Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 NKJV).

Just as a physical wound needs time to heal, the same is true for broken hearts. In fact, healing from loss can often take years. Confiding in trustworthy people and allowing the Lord to walk with you and heal you are key. 

DIG: How have you dealt with the loss of a family member or friend? How long ago was it?

DISCOVER: How did the Lord comfort you?

DO: When someone you know has suffered a loss, be a good listener and serve them with your caring presence.

About the Author

Jeff Seward