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How Long is it Appropriate to Mourn or Grieve a Loss?


Appropriate Grieving and Mourning How long is the appropriate time for anyone to grieve or mourn? That indeed was the exact question God had posed to Prophet Samuel when he had continued to grieve for King Saul’s spiritual backsliding that unequivocally led to God’s rejection of him as the king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1). While I may not be able to categorically recommend to anyone how long or short a period is advisable for grieving and mourning, there are examples of appropriate grieving and mourning found in the Word of God. Being able to consider the reactions of the following few bereaved people at their loss of loved ones, colleagues and mentors should answer this question: “How long is the appropriate time for anyone to grieve or mourn?” Let us together see through the lenses of God's Word, the Bible:

  • At Jacob’s Israel’s death in Egypt:

When Jacob (re-named Israel by the Angel of God), the father of Prime Minister Joseph had died in Egypt at the ripe old age of one-hundred-and-forty-seven, the Egyptian parliament had according to their culture declared seventy days of national mourning in his honor! Thereafter, everyone had returned to work. But for Joseph — and his household — their mourning had been accompanied “with a great and very sore lamentation” which had lasted seven days.1

  • At Prophet Samuel’s death:

When Prophet Samuel had passed on, David had departed for a more secluded place, in the desert of Paran to mourn his mentor’s transition. He had remained in a state of utter brokenness of heart, for just a while. There had been a hot, deadly, pursuing assailant who had wanted to snatch his life from him, whom he had to continue to flee from while training and enhancing his weak, six-hundred-man army unto strength, military, and tactical prowess!2

  • At the death of the baby born of David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba:

King David had had an adulterous affair with the beautiful Mrs. Bathsheba Uriah. He had subsequently murdered Bathsheba’s husband, Officer Uriah. When the baby had been born, God had dispatched Prophet Nathan to the murderer-king! He had been sent to confront the king with God’s displeasure of his unscrupulous, heinous crime and inform him of God’s decision! Consequently, the baby had taken grievously ill. David had fasted and besought God’s mercy for seven days, to restore the baby’s health! But not so. God had not listened to his pleas! The baby had died.

As soon as “David saw his servants whispered,” he had rightfully perceived that the child had passed! His next set of action would baffle you: “Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came into his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat” (2 Samuel 12:20).

  • When Elisha had lost his mentor, Prophet Elijah to Heavenly chariots:

Prophet Elisha had become a bit irritated the morning after he had witnessed his mentor Elijah’s ascension into Heaven in a fiery, angelic chariot. He had bitterly cursed a band of irresponsible grown, set of mockers who had jeered at and taunted him: “Go up, Baldie; you are bereft of your master, Elijah.”3 Now, notice, the aggrieved younger Prophet had not remained irritable for too long. We were told that he had further proceeded away from that unfortunate incident onto Mount Carmel. This had been the starting place of his appropriating the anointing upon his mentor, Elijah, by a tangible double portion!4


When Jesus had learned of Herod’s beheading of John the Baptist:

Jesus Christ’s reactions at His knowledge of the ruthless beheading of his cousin and forerunner, the renowned John the Baptist by the ruthless King Herod had been drastic. The Master had withdrawn by a boat right into the seclusion of private isolation “for a while” before the throngs had found him.5 How long was a while? When He had resumed work, He had taught and fed the five thousand. St. Matthew had recorded that after these had happened, Jesus had departed alone, withdrawing further still for the mountains, until the dawn of the next morning (Matthew 14:13; 23). You too may request more time off work, should you indeed need to, until the dawning of the new strength!


Reading References:

1. Genesis 50:10 , 2. 1 Samuel 25:1 , 3. 2 Kings 2:23-24 , 4. 2Kings 2:25 , & 5. Matthew 14:13 (Blog article was excerpted and adapted for suitability on this medium from Dr. Sammy O. Joseph's book "You Are Not a MISMATCH" published by PULSE Publishing House, UK, New Edition 2020. Copyrights permitted.) Purchase your copies from HarvestWays.Org or Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com #MentalHealth #Awareness #Healing


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