In verse 19 it seemed like it was saying we no longer need the sun and the moon because our light comes from God, but then verse 20 says our sun and moon will never set? That seems like a bit of a contradiction no?
But notice that in verse 20 it says YOUR sun and YOUR moon. And I see that as a metaphor for God. Think about long summer nights and how you don’t want the sun to go down! You close your eyes and feel the warmth of it on your skin, you want to soak in all its benefits. And then the moon, it’s talking about a full moon. I often marvel at a full moon, its largeness, its glow. Who here has stared at it for hours through a microscope, studying all its craters?
What a beautiful picture of what our relationship with God can be – one of wonder and refreshment. There’s no sense of rushing to get a devotional in or a hurried prayer, it’s a constant communion with Him, a desire to spend time with him
And even better, He says it’s eternal.
Then the last line of the verse seems to jump topics, it says “your days of mourning will be over.” I enjoy looking at other translations to tease out meanings so the NIV translation says “your sorrow will end” and the message translation says “your days of grieving are over.” Ps Vanessa touched on this part yesterday, that there will be a day where there won’t be this grief or sadness over death any more, when heaven becomes reality and that is an incredible promise to hold onto.
Today, I want to look at it from another perspective and ask what we can do today in our moments of grief until that day comes. Let’s look at a definition because they can seem like very similar terms and both terms mean to feel deep sorrow for the loss. To mourn is to feel and manifest sadness in public whereas to grieve is to only feel sadness.
Something that stood out to me in the definition of mourning is that there is a public expression of our grief. That’s something I’ve been learning the past few years, which is how to grieve well. So I would love to share three keys in times of mourning.
1)The most important thing is to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling.
The problem with not allowing ourselves to feel emotions, to label them as bad or say “I shouldn’t” is that we cover ourselves with shame. There is no shame in feeling deep emotions. Jesus himself was often emotional, crying until he bled even! It’s what you do with that emotion that is important.
2) Ask for what you need.
When my grandmother died three years ago, it was the first time I grieved as an adult so I learned a lot. I found myself experiencing such a deep sadness and because my friends knew that she had died I expected them to comfort me. The problem with this is this expectation was not communicated which led to unmet expectations and further, disappointment. Even if you don’t fully know what you need, say that! Just let those safe people around you know what’s going on to help avoid further sadness from unmet expectations.
3) Keep bringing your focus back to Jesus.
Going back to our verse, the encouragement is to look up, to focus on our God. Because what you focus on, you magnify. Like we look at the sun, like we study the moon, especially in times of prayer and fasting, it’s about refocusing ourselves on the one who saves.
So what does this have to do with R1000?
Tomorrow as we finish our prayer and fasting we get to the crux of this passage where in verse 22 it says “The smallest one will become a thousand (a clan), And the least one a mighty nation.”
So while R1000 is about seeing 1000 come through the doors of Resurgent, it’s also about the 1. The one could be that 1 person who comes out of all the people you’ve invited, it could be that 1 person you step out of your comfort zone to talk to and make them feel welcome, or the 1 could be you.
This weekend could be about you breaking through some ceilings that have been holding you back and from there, your influence can multiply. I felt like this verse, while speaking to the nation of Jerusalem, is also talking to those places in our hearts that are still broken and Jesus is whispering to someone today, look up. Focus on me, allow me to heal those places, to comfort you in your sorrow and end your days of mourning.
And as we become free, we can lead others into those areas of freedom as well.
- Danielle Oostergo
Service leader assistant