Reflections On Ecclesiastes Three
KEY VERSE: a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing. Ecclesiastes 3:4b(CEB)
Why should they ever be a time for mourning? We mourn as an expression of sorrow for someone’s death. The passing of someone we love can produce grief, leading to mourning. Grief is internal, while mourning is the outward expression of what you feel inside. Grieving is not exclusive to death; it is about loss, which comes in many different ways.
People mourn differently; some refuse food, experience numbness and detachment from others, extreme focus on reminders of the loved one, or even excessive avoidance of reminders. Focus on little else, but the loved one’s death can keep people in mourning for years.
Several people in the bible mourned. Joseph mourned his father, and David mourned the death of Absalom, his son. The Jews mourned when Haman incited the King to eliminate them. But God turned their mourning into dancing!
And in every province, whithersoever the King’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. Esther 4:3(KJV)
Now Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews who lived in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same month, annually, because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and as the month which was turned for them from grief to joy and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending choice portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor. Esther 9:20-22(AMP)
People who mourn must express grief, it must not be denied. Trauma healing encourages them to speak and process their thoughts around the circumstances and what they find most challenging. Living in denial of the loss is a false bridge to recovery. Many Christians try to give a false image of themselves by refusing to mourn. It is not a healthy response nor a sign of spirituality because those who mourn will be comforted.
God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort! Matthew 5:4(CEV)
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. John 16:7(AMP)
The period of mourning must not be overextended. Samuel continued to grieve over Saul until the Lord rebuked him. Joshua did not discern that the time of mourning should have ended so they could continue the mission to the promised land. God has reserved a time when He will permanently wipe away our tears, and mourning will cease in heaven.
And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 1 Samuel 16:1(KJV)
“Moses, My servant is dead; now, therefore, arise [to take his place], cross over this Jordan, you and all these people, into the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Joshua 1:2(AMP)
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4(KJV)
A time of grieving can help reaffirm our beliefs about God and his promises. It helps us focus on the memory of our loved ones and the impact of their lives. It also wakes us up to the brevity of life and the need to maximize our time on earth.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18(CEB)
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26(ESV)
Journalling, music, and spending time with nature are helpful during the mourning period, but most of all, the presence of the Holy Spirit helps us find comfort in the people and opportunities we still have. A miscarriage may precede the birth of another baby months later; a job loss could be the catalyst that makes you a successful entrepreneur. How God changes seasons to bring in a time of dancing is his prerogative, but in the scriptures, we see that the Cross had to take place before the resurrection.
Bathsheba mourned before she danced at Solomon’s coronation as King; Job’s seasons changed from mourning to rejoicing; Mary had grief and joy in different seasons; God’s presence in our lives is the only constant.
You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, Psalm 30:11(AMPC)
God has the power to change seasons; the prophet Isaiah calls it an appointment! An appointment has a specific time when it occurs. David knew that very well and kept his focus on God. When God gave him victory and rest, he did not feel too important before God but danced as an expression of his gratitude.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” – Isaiah 61:3 KJ21
When was the last time you danced? What makes you dance? Celebrate the showers as we wait for the downpours; happiness is a choice. “Enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going” is a book by Joyce Meyer; it teaches how to find reasons for dancing.
Father, thank you for the gift of seasons; we are encouraged to know you are always with us in every season of life. We pray for comfort for those who are mourning and ask that you teach us to dance with others till our season of dancing comes in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Photo by Luwadlin Bosman on Unsplash