Ralph Davis writes about Abraham mourning the death of Sarah, describing it as a common sorrow of covenant people.
This may be a ‘common’ sorrow but there is nothing common about this death. It is a special death. Sarah is the only woman in Genesis whose age is given at death. And Sarah is, in one sense, the mother of the people of God in this world. And yet for all that there is something common about this death. For Abraham, it is what we might call an ‘ordinary’ trial as compared to the severe test he endured in chapter 22. This at least is one of the trials you expect to meet. To be sure, Abraham is a ‘special’ person, the funnel of redemption (12:1-3), and yet the last of verse 2 shows that he nevertheless endures common sorrows – one that every Tom, Dick, Harry, Marsha, and Heather endure.
So Abraham here reminds us that God’s covenant people are not sticks and stones, impervious to grief and sadness. We are not some sort of elite humanity that doesn’t face these ravages. You may say: Well, yes, but we face them with triumph and victory. Well, maybe; often that is the case. But sometimes our losses are so sad, so distressing, so lonely that even as Christians we can’t feel much of the ‘victorious’ element. Just because you’re a Christian does not mean you don’t mourn and weep over your loss, over the spouse who’s no longer at your side or the child who no longer sits on your knee. And sometimes it comes in waves.
Nor does it cease after death’s formalities. For months and months the ache never leaves. Much, much later you may sense you’re getting a handle on it, and then while you’re standing in morning worship one Sunday singing My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less something sneaks up on you and turns on the water-works. Does faith make a difference? Of course, it does, but faith doesn’t insulate you from sorrow – in fact, the deeper the love, the closer the relation, the more sever the grief may be. ‘Abraham went int o mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.’
Dale Ralph Davis, Faith Of Our Fathers -Expositions Of Genesis 12-25, Christian Focus, 2015, pgs 144-145.