“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 (NRSV)
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NRSV)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)
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When I read this, I think to myself “why would I want to be blessed for mourning?” Who wants to mourn?
When I think of mourning, I usually associate it with the physical act of crying. I cry during every episode of Parenthood that I watch, and am usually in tears at the end of most movies, but mourning is a whole other feeling that I don’t particularly want to partake in. It’s that feeling from deep within that makes your mind, body, and soul ache for something. I mourned the death of my mother. I mourned the death of my college mentor. I mourned when injustice was placed upon the Syrian refugees. And I hated it.
The reality is that we all will mourn eventually because life is hard. Everyone fails at something. We all get older. Marriages fail. People get sick. All of us die. We will not go through this life without mourning.
Sadness can blindside us. But Jesus said when it does, we will be blessed. If we are willing to let God enter our hearts in the midst of our mourning, something more happens. We are comforted. He lets us rid ourselves of all the grief so that He can, in return, fill us up with the most overwhelming and intoxicating joy.
I think it is clear in scripture that we should mourn for the hurting and broken, mourn for the spiritually lost, and mourn for our own sin. Because it is in those moments of mourning that we become like Jesus.
Mourn for the hurting and broken. I have two degrees in journalism, but HATED reading the news for years. It was too sad. It was too much for me to handle. But then I realized I was called to mourn for the hurting and broken people of the world. It was when I gave into the God-given grief, that I finally let God handle it. He was then able to comfort me in my despair. My heart was no longer avoiding the brokenness of the world. My heart was His heart. Are we culturally aware of what’s going on? Are we mourning for the children who are fleeing from their homes alone? Are we mourning for the women and girls who are sexually enslaved by their capturers? Are we mourning for those living with disabilities who are marginalized every day world-wide? In John 11 it simply states that “Jesus wept.” He was mourning the loss of Lazarus, and for all the broken hearts around the world.
Mourn for the spiritually lost. When I watch my small group of high school guys worship Jesus, I’m overwhelmed. When I see someone profess their faith in Jesus through baptism at church, I burst out in tears. But I find that I seem to be more emotional about the ways that I see Jesus in people, than the lack of Jesus in others. Of course it is sad when I know that one of my small group guys “just doesn’t get it yet,” but do I ever mourn the fact that he doesn’t know the Truth that I know? That he may spend eternity separated from a Holy God who loves him more than he could ever imagine? Paul writes in Romans 9 about his burden for the lost, and how his heart aches for them.
Mourn for your sin. There are a lot of ways to mourn and a lot of things to be sad about in today’s world. But I think in this beatitude, Jesus is saying blessed are those who mourn over the sin in their own lives. Mourning is an emotional understanding of the depth of our wrong. Blessed are those who mourn over their own sin because it brings them to the presence of God. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
It is when we mourn for our sin that we find the grace of God in Jesus. When you read of all the accounts of Jesus in the gospels, you find that He is always responsive to those who are aware of their own sin and brokenness.
We will be blessed and comforted when we mourn here on earth, but we can rest assured that mourning only happens here. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
When we one day experience eternity in Heaven, there will be no more pain, mourning, or weeping. That day will begin our ultimate comfort.
Mourning is healthy. It’s necessary. It’s biblical.
This mourning is God’s gift to us. Feeling the pain of this Godly desperation causes us to reorder our life to spend our strength, time, and money to seek God for all that He has made available for us.
We should consistently be praying for God to break our hearts for what breaks His. It’s in those moments of despair and emptiness that He will fill us with pure joy and comfort.
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Derick, Declare Glory