The Blog: Pastor Parsley's Personal Blog Pastor Rod Parsley

When It's Time to Stop Mourning

3/24/2014 8:00:00 AM — I've experienced some profound losses in my life – certainly you have too. I miss my pastor and mentor, Dr. Lester Sumrall, on a daily basis. And in the past 10 years I have also lost my only sibling, Debbie, and my father, James. There are other losses I could tell you about, but I think I've made my point: to live is to endure loss and therefore to mourn loss.

Everyone mourns and grieves loss in a different way. But the Bible is clear that mourning is to be a temporary condition. We can either mourn or position ourselves for God's blessings.

Mourners, in my experience, often respond to loss in one of two ways, neither of them healthy:
  1. They deny the loss, and purpose themselves to go on as though the loss hadn't impacted them. If you challenge them, they'll say "this is my way of dealing with it" or something similar. The problem with stuffing your emotions, of course, is that it's like trying to keep a beach ball underwater – they will always come to the surface, usually in an unfortunate time, place or manner.
  2. They'll be in a continuous state of mourning, with no attempt to move forward in a new state of normal.
Now you need to hear me correctly here: I am absolutely not saying that you need to "get over" the loss of a spouse or child or other loved one, or that a loss won't permanently impact you. I don't think that's possible. I am saying that God is very interested in how we answer the question "now what?" He wants to help us respond positively to the loss in our lives, and He is ready to order our steps in that direction when we become willing to let Him.

We are told in Scripture that there is a time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4), and that God turns our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). So it's reasonable to conclude that in God's eyes mourning is acceptable, but must be left behind at some point, so we can acknowledge His goodness again.

God used the prophet Samuel to communicate this principle to Saul. Saul's father, Kish, had lost his donkeys, and thus a significant portion of his wealth. He sent Saul and a servant to look for them, without success. It was the servant who suggested that they seek out the man of God, Samuel, before returning home.

Saul likely hoped that Samuel would have the answer to his problem – locating the donkeys. But Samuel had something else entirely to tell Saul:
"As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father's house?" Saul answered, "Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?"
Then Samuel took Saul and his young man and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, who were about thirty persons. And Samuel said to the cook, "Bring the portion I gave you, of which I said to you, 'Put it aside.' "So the cook took up the leg and what was on it and set them before Saul. And Samuel said, "See, what was kept is set before you. Eat, because it was kept for you until the hour appointed, that you might eat with the guests.
"So Saul ate with Samuel that day."
1 Samuel 9:20-24, ESV
The leg was the part of the sacrifice reserved for the king. Samuel was telling Saul, "Don't worry about some animals. God has a greater blessing in store for you!"

Today I believe that God is saying to you, "You have mourned your loss, and that is well and good. But I need you to stop mourning because I have a greater blessing in store for you!"

We live in a messed-up world, and very often believers can become messed up in it. Jobs are lost, marriages end and loved ones die. When that happens, we become others' ministries. We need to let the Church minister to us when we are mourning. But at some point God expects us to stop mourning and start dancing – to begin again to celebrate His presence in our lives. We are never to permanently be a ministry because He needs us to be a minister!

I don't know what you're going through today, or if today is the day you need to stop mourning your loss and start celebrating the blessing, the advancement, the anointing that God has reserved for you. But I do know this: your day to stop mourning is coming! Like Saul, God has better plans for you than to be a crumpled, weeping mass of sorrow. He has arranged a blessing for you that befits your status as a King's Kid – and it will be ready for you when you are done mourning.