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10 Days 2015 Devotional, Day 1: Invited to Mourn

Day 1: Invited to Mourn

“In her heart she [Babylon] boasts, 'I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn. Because of this in one day her plagues will overtake her, death, mourning, and famine…” (Rev 18:7b-8a)

In September of 2004, I had a surprising encounter with God that was the basis for 10 Days.  In that experience , I heard this phrase in my spirit:

“Babylon refuses to mourn, but my people will mourn before I return.”

You want me to Mourn…for 10 Days?

Mourning is not a particularly attractive word.  It conjures images of funerals and black clothes and the biblical phrase “sackcloth and ashes.” And yet, despite all its outward lack of charm, mourning is a doorway, an avenue that can lead us deep into the Knowledge of God and paradoxically, into Joy!

Fundamentally, mourning is about what we do not have. We mourn because we’ve lost something or someone that we need or love. We mourn because we don’t have something that we desperately need or deeply desire.  We mourn because something has been taken away from us, or because we have a longing that just won’t go away.

During the 10 Days, we’re asking you to open up your heart to the eyes of God, to let the Holy Spirit guide you into areas of need and lack.  Some of those areas you can probably name right now.  Others are things that you haven’t even discovered yet.  Busyness, distraction, and even apparent success are the enemies of this type of prayer.  They keep us distracted and stuck in small satisfactions when God wants to enlarge our desire and align it with His eternal purpose.

Recognizing need positions us to receive

To understand what mourning is, you only need to understand this one Scripture: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Just think of it.  If you want to guarantee God’s opposition to your life, it’s simple.  Cultivate pride. Likewise, if you want to receive God’s grace, all you have to do is go low!  Mourning is nothing other than humbling ourselves before God.  As Jesus put it in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

There’s a dynamic relationship between desire and fulfillment.  If you don’t ever have a desire, or experience your own need, you’ll also never experience fulfillment.  In the Kingdom of God, asking comes first, then receiving, seeking comes before finding, and knocking comes first, and then the open door.  Saying “yes” to God’s invitation to mourn is ultimately about positioning our hearts to receive His fullness! The cross precedes the resurrection and ascension and mourning comes before joy.

10 Days is a time to discover “what we don’t have” and “what we’ve lost” but it’s not mourning without hope.  In fact, recognizing what we’re missing and what we’ve lost positions us to receive those very things.  It’s mourning in hope, longing for the promises of God, aligning our hearts with God’s priorities so that we might see them come, on earth as it is in heaven.

Father, as the 10 Days begins, I’m setting these days apart to encounter you in places of need.  Only you can transform me into the likeness of your son, Jesus Christ.  I open my heart and my mind to your loving eyes. Heal my broken places, known and unknown. Reveal to me those areas of need and lack. Reveal and remove my sin, known and unknown, as I repent and seek your face. Let me see things as you see, feel as you feel, hope as you hope, and love as you love.

Jonathan Friz is the 10 Days National Coordinator.  He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife Cassi and their six children.