10 Days: An Invitation to Mourn
“I sit as a queen…and will never see mourning.” --Mystery Babylon
“Blessed are those who mourn now, for they will be comforted.” --Jesus Christ
10 Days is upon us.
Over 30 locations around the world that we know of are organizing gatherings during this time. Some are larger, some are smaller.
At this point, I want to invite you personally, wherever you are into a time of intentional mourning, fasting, and repentance starting the evening of September 9th. We’re going to seek the Lord during these 10 Days as part of a global upper room—won’t you join us?
The Kingdom of God is exactly Upside Down
Why are we called to mourn? Isn’t there enough sadness already? Enough grief and sorrow? Wouldn’t 10 Days of celebration be more attractive, more fun, maybe even more Biblical?
In brief, I believe God wants us to enter into voluntary mourning because the Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom. Consider these Biblical realities:
- If you want comfort, mourn.
- If you want true riches, give away all your possessions.
- If you want to save your life, lose your life.
- If you want to honor and high rank, go as low as you possibly can.
- If you want to be truly strong, you’ll have to be weak.
- If you want to be great, become a servant to all
These upside-down paradoxes are at the very heart of our faith. As a way to illustrate this, I often misquote the Psalmist to say: “Joy comes in the mourning.”
In Revelation 18:7, Harlot Babylon is judged. God measures out her judgment in direct proportion (1:1) to how she elevated herself:
“In the measure that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, give her torment and sorrow for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen and am no widow and will not see mourning.’ For this reason, her plagues will come in one day, death and mourning and famine.”
This is the ultimate expression of the scripture that says “God opposes the proud.” It also illustrates once again the upside-down nature of the Kingdom.
- If you glorify yourself, you will be humbled
- If you live for temporary pleasure, you will suffer eternal torment
- If you refuse voluntary mourning and humility, you’ll receive mourning, death, and famine all at once.
Everybody is going to mourn—we can choose to enter into it voluntarily under the grace of God, or have it stored up and poured out on us in wrath along with Babylon.
Personally, I like the way God has set it up for us!
4 Reasons to Mourn: 1. Our own Sin is Cause for Mourning
In Revelation 3:19, Jesus says this to the church of Laodicea, who he has just harshly indicted: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous [enthusiastic] and repent.”
I’ll never forget an early experience that I had with the Lord in pursuing unity in His Body. In a way that was unforgettable, He identified the cause of disunity in the Body as being…me. It was as though I could feel his finger pointing firmly in my chest at the very moment that I was judging others in the Body. It led me into a season of mourning and deep repentance as I sought God to remove the sin that was hidden in my own heart.
James 4: The Home Remedy for Sin in your Heart
James 4 is a practical remedy for dealing with sin in your own heart. James 4:1 says “Where do battles and fights come from among you? Are they not from your desires for pleasure that war within your members?” In other words, the problem is…you.
He goes on to say in verse 8: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts, you double minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
I’d wager to say that James’ practical remedy for personal sin and holiness is just as timely now as it was then. Let’s be enthusiastic and repent, recognizing that the Lord’s chastening is for our good and out of love.
2. We have Cause to Mourn: Stumbling Blocks
In Matthew 18:6, Jesus says “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks.”
The Roman Catholic Church is being rocked by another sex-abuse scandal that implicates some of their key leadership in the US and Globally. Woe to us who live on earth because of these stumbling blocks. And this is just one example of many stumbling blocks that exist. As we pray along with Jesus for the unity of the global church, we need to mourn and lament these stumbling blocks, asking God to remove them. Instead of criticizing and ourselves stumbling (ie being offended) by them, let’s bring these immense offenses before the throne of Heaven and ask for Him to purify His bride.
3. We Mourn the Injustice of this Evil Age (Luke 18)
The earth is still under the control of the “prince of this age” who wars against the saints.
Corruption, unjust laws, sin, disease, unbelief, immorality, death, poverty, war, loss, racial and ethnic conflict, despair, selfishness, loneliness, offense, natural disasters, and confusion are all around us. God’s remedy for the injustice of this age is clear: a persistent prayer movement that stands in faith for His promises and refuses to quit (Luke 18:1-8).
The last several months have been very challenging for me personally on multiple levels. I’ve told friends that I feel like “a human punching bag” as trials of many kinds have buffeted me. I’m blessed to have so many friends who have spoken life to me, prayed for me, and encouraged me.
Acknowledging this pain and trial before the Lord allows us to turn that experience of suffering into a prayer for the Kingdom to Come. The sound of our mourning is an acknowledgment that things are not okay—that this is not the way God intends things to be. It’s also a cry to Heaven for true Justice: “Let your Kingdom come, let your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
4. We have Cause to Mourn: Our Love is Absent!
Finally, and most importantly, we mourn because our Messiah and Bridegroom is absent.
Listen to this example of mourning from the Song of Songs:
“I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My soul leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but could not find him. I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me. The keepers of the walls took my veil away from me.”
“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, tell him I am Lovesick!”—Song of Songs 5:6-9
This lovesickness, this mourning for the presence of our beloved, is meant to typify our lives in this age. More than our own sin, stumbling blocks, or injustice, we are mourning the absence of a person.
Friends, we have cause to mourn.
God is opening up this opportunity for us to enter into a season of humility along with believers around the globe. This fall, let’s throw ourselves together on the mercy of God. Let’s “Repent…so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and He may send Jesus, the Christ…whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things.”