“The Lord ’s word came to me: Human one, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you in a single stroke. Don’t mourn or weep. Don’t even let your tears well up. Sigh inwardly; be deathly still. Don’t perform mourning rites, but bind on your turban and put your shoes on your feet. And don’t cover your upper lip or eat in human company” (Ezekiel 24:15-17, CEB).
Like several of the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel’s prophecies were often intertwined with his personal life. On one occasion God told Ezekiel that his beloved city of Jerusalem was about to be destroyed. Then, God told Ezekiel his wife was about to die!
And if that wasn’t enough bad news, God told Ezekiel not to mourn over his wife’s death and not even to participate in the rituals of grief and mourning that were a part of that ancient culture. Ezekiel was to keep his grief to himself.
The reason this prophecy was given to Ezekiel was because the death of his wife, the desire of his heart, would be a sign that his nation was about to lose what was its greatest desire, the Temple in Jerusalem. In 586 BC, the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and killed many of the inhabitants of the city or sent them into exile.
You might think this was a pretty mean thing for God to command Ezekiel to do. But God had some important business for Ezekiel to take care of and Ezekiel wouldn’t have the time or opportunity to participate in the grieving process.
God understood that Ezekiel would be grief-stricken but He told him to mourn silently because He needed Ezekiel to be an example of faithfulness to the people of Israel when the Temple was destroyed. God needed Ezekiel to speak the word of the Lord to the people and confirm God’s plan and purpose in all the tragedy that would take place. God needed Ezekiel to begin a ministry of consolation and hope for God’s restoration for Israel.
Maybe you’ve faced personal tragedy, suffered misfortune or lost a loved one and, in spite of your despair, you still have tried to remain confident and obedient to God and His will for you.
It’s okay to mourn…
It’s all right to grieve…
For a little while.
But you can’t dwell there. Because you start feeling sorry for yourself. And, you start wanting the sympathy of people instead of desiring the grace of God.
You must let go of despair in order for God to restore you from your despair. Let God redirect your anguish into receiving His strengthening. For out of your despair God can reveal to you who He is and what He wants to do through you when you depend on Him.
While it may seem harsh and insensitive to let go of your grief and heartbreak, God’s plans and purposes are about the future, about what He is going to do, about what He is going to do through you! “On that day your mouth will be opened to the refugee, and you will speak and no longer be silent. You will be their sign, and they will know that I am the Lord” (vs. 17).
When you let God be your consolation, He will empower you and your tragedy will become a spiritual revitalization!
So, God wants you to let go of your past in order to grab hold of His future for you.
There’s no time for mourning. There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself.
It’s time to move on because God has new plans, big plans for you!