Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. (Jeremiah 8:21)
Mourning can be a great motivator. When you mourn for something, you recognize that things are not what they should be – they need some sort of restoration. That perspective can be a motivational force for good – so that you can be a part of the restorative process.
Mourning is what allowed John Newton to begin impacting the world with the eradication of slavery. Once a slave trader, Newton turned his life over to God with the realization of the horrendous nature of slavery. In his mourning over what he had done and the disgraceful business of trading slaves that still existed, Newton partnered with William Wilberforce to move to bring slave trading to an end in England. His mourning motivated him to move.
Jeremiah also mourned; he was grieved for his people. They had walked so far away from where God wanted them to be that their return seemed absolutely hopeless. His was response was to mourn over the situation because of all that was to be lost. His mourning, however, didn’t keep him from staying quiet. To the contrary, it was a motivation to continue encouraging Israel to return to God.
There is a place for mourning in faith – particularly when people face the consequences of sin. There is mourning over the life that they could be living if they simply submitted themselves to their heavenly Father. It’s this process of grief that motivates us to bring people to the cross. If there isn’t a grief over what is lost, then there is no motivation to bring people to Christ.
Is your heart moved by the sin of others? Are you grieved by the consequences that sin brings to people’s lives? Will you allow that to motivate you to do something differently than what you’re already doing? God may be ready to use you to help bring restoration. Are you ready and willing?
Father, my heart mourns over those who are far from You. I do not mourn arrogantly but with a desire to see others free from the shackles of sin and death. Give me wisdom in my mourning to know how to respond. And then give me courage to follow through.