Joel 2:12-13 - “Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
James 4:7-10 - But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
What do you and I do when we are in need? People of this world may turn to family, friends, or their own ability to solve problems in their times of need. Or they may turn to sources of temporary solace - food, drink, zoning out with TV, shopping, or video games. We too, as Christians, are also familiar with turning to all of these things.
But, as His people, God invites us to more grace. Scripture says we can turn to Him in our times of need. How we need to mourn and weep and have rent hearts. How we need to be cleansed and purified, to experience God’s abounding love and forgiveness.
If there is an area of our lives that we have been struggling with for some time, perhaps God is inviting us to come to Him in this way. If so, may we turn to Him in response to the invitations of Joel and James. The true mourning comes from Him, but we can place ourselves in such a way to receive.
For all of us, let’s agree with these Scriptures and realize that our relationship with God is to also be like this. Let’s ask that the more grace that comes in this way will increase in our lives and our churches.