Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
I got the chance to meet some great kind hearted people over the past week. I have come to realize no matter how many I get to know there’s always going to be some funny stories I’ve never heard, some great personalities yet to be discovered and if you get to know people long enough, you’ll find out the heart stuff too - like what hurts and how deep the hurt goes. I think so often we do our best to cover up those hurts in order to function in society, that we forget the importance of letting the heart heal. Last weekend at Your Church I dove into Jesus’ second statement that He made in His sermon on the Mount – a statement that touches the deep stuff. The stuff that touches the hearts of all humanity.
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.”
I have to say, I used to never find mourning to be a blessing in any sense of the word. I steered clear of this verse as a pastor, probably because I never understood what it meant to mourn, and the fact I couldn’t wrap my brain around Heaven calling you blessed when you did. It’s not that I’m insensitive or indifferent to those who mourn. It just didn’t fit my super spiritual Rambo-faith-guy persona I was more comfortable portraying. Let’s face it, mourning is a tough thing to deal with. It’s deeper than shedding a tear. It’s the process of shedding a lot of tears; the process in which the heart releases layers and layers of memories of what should have been, laden with layers and layers of pent up emotions of trying to figure out what happened, why it died, and why it will never be. In a nutshell, mourning is the byproduct of a death – the emotional gut/heart response that results when you’re abruptly faced with the end to a way of life. I think it’s the toughest part to our crazy lives. It’s some of the hardest days you’ll ever navigate because there are no quick answers, and no quick fixes. They are the days that cause you to question yourself, question God, and maybe even question your reason for going on. At times, the process of mourning can be really messy, and it’s the farthest thing from pretty. Yet in God’s Kingdom, it’s the moment in which He calls you blessed.
There’s something significant, something healthy that happens when you allow yourself to mourn. In the midst of the tears and agony there comes a painful resolve that the lifestyle, the dear loved one, the dream you pictured coming to pass, is officially dead. Not only is it dead, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do to fix it – it’s over. The Message Translation puts it this way, "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” After you’ve cried the tears and accepted that what was precious is gone, the One most dear to you responds with an embrace like none other.
I’m not exactly sure how He does it, but He does it. He brings comfort to the inner most part of who we are and probably the best way I can explain it, He brings a peace that our hearts cannot explain. It’s a peace that doesn’t make sense, but it’s there like a flood. At times it’s like a breath of the freshest of air. It’s not answers to your tough questions or ‘why it happened’, it’s better than that. It’s hope. It’s a smile. It’s the light coming back into your eye. It’s laughter. It’s being treated to a bed of roses when your life seems like a pile of ashes. You’re blessed because when you mourn, God Himself takes a personal interest in comforting you.
God cares so much about people who mourn, He told the prophet Isaiah to write this about the heart of the coming Messiah (Jesus):
Isaiah 61:3 “To care for the needs of all who mourn…to give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit."
If you’ve ever mourned, than you know what I’m talking about. Even though the weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning. Hang in there.