Comfort for the mourners
Several big box stores offer unprecedented warranty coverage for everything they sell. They ardently stand by their products with a goal to create lifelong customers. For every television, used rug or three-year-old broken bicycle replaced, they sell millions of dollars of consumable, irreplicable goods. For instance, no one returns that pizza or hotdog they ate completely. These stores are clever enough to know, if they give a little, they’ll get so much more from the customer in return.
Matthew 5:4 carries a similar connotation. In a period of mourning, we often find ourselves feeling hopeless. You may feel like it is pointless to carry on when something or someone you’ve held so dearly is no longer with you. It could be a job, a purpose, a pet, a marriage or the death of a loved one. Jesus does not provide great detail within this beatitude. He does not clarify circumstances or state specifics. This beatitude is all about implication.
Jesus implies no matter what you are experiencing, no matter how much pain and suffering you have endured, you never have to surrender your hope. In fact, in the face of mourning there is a new hope which rises by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Much like a rose forming from a crack in the concrete, despair gives way to anticipation.
With every breath, every sunrise and every
conversation you inch closer to the blessing of The Comforter.
It’s important to recognize Matthew 5:4 doesn’t say “Blessed are those because they mourn.” This statement would feel cruel, callous and cold-blooded. No one feels blessed when they experience loss. We ask “why” and when we don’t get an answer, we ask it again.
We look internally and externally to see if we could have avoided the loss. Sometimes we feel responsible, other times we feel powerless, but we always feel the pain we wish we could push aside for brighter days.
Some people handle mourning well. They may:
- Surround themselves with supportive friends.
- Join a support group.
- Honor the memory of the loss or lost loved one.
- Stay active.
Others handle mourning unhealthily. They:
- Eat excessive unhealthy food.
- Spend exorbitantly to mask the pain with temporary joy (i.e. retail therapy).
- Play the blame game.
Those who mourn are not blessed because they mourn. They are blessed because of a promise. They are blessed because there is an exchange in the waiting. There is someone who is willing to take all the hurt, pain, questions, fear and doubt and exchange it for grace, peace, hope and love.
Jesus, The Prince of Peace, calls you to filter your pain through the Upside-Down Kingdom of God like water through a filter. He begins to remove the impurities, and you emerge from your pain with greater clarity and contentment.
It’s an unexplainable, supernatural act, but we see it time and time again in the Scriptures.
- “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 ESV).
- “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 ESV).
- “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 NIV).
- “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5 ESV).
- “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119:50 ESV).
We know we will experience trouble in this world. We know that trouble will hurt. Pain and loss are unavoidable. Mourning is a part of the fallen state of humanity.
And, if we know all these things to be true, we are blessed because we can prepare for our comfort. We can look for it. We no longer see grief and suffering as the end game. We linger for but a moment and then lift our eyes to see where our help will come from. (See Psalm 121:1.) We look for help because we have a promise that help is on its way.
The Comforter is on His way.
You are blessed because as a child of God you:
- Have hope in the promises of God.
- Your pain is not permanent.
- Your season is not a sentence.
- Mourning is simply the rocky road on our way to perfect pavement.
You can step into His presence and find the heavenly equivalent of a big box store waiting to take your fragile, broken, sorrowful state and exchange it for something new.
Prolific writer, Rabbi Earl A. Grollman once stated, “Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love.”
Why does love cost so much? Because it abounds. Love has no end. It has no limits. If love had an end, when a person you love passes away, you’d no longer feel pain or sorrow. Your affection and love would pass with them, but we know this is not the case. We feel even more when they leave because our love continues, but we no longer have a way to express this love to them.
When you step into love you step into a limitless commodity. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s because of His great love for us we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:23 NIV). It’s because of His love we can have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV). Love is God’s greatest gift to us!
It’s also because of His great love that He will comfort those who mourn. He will not stand idly by and let His children suffer alone without coming to their rescue. It’s who He is, it’s what He promised and it’s the reason you are so very blessed.
If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can read it here!