Blessed are those who mourn. Another statement in the sermon that Jesus gave about Kingdom values that seems totally backwards. Most of us have experienced grief and mourning. It was never a time that we describe as “blessed.” So what could Jesus be talking about?
First; let’s talk about some of the types of mourning we experience. The first thing that most of us think about is mourning at a time of loss. Maybe the loss of a loved one or the loss of our health or the loss of employment. Whatever the nature of the loss, whether it is permanent or one that will resolve itself in time, the pain associated with it can be searing.
Another type of mourning would be that of unfulfilled desires. While we don’t know how this grief will be resolved, it always carries with it a deep sense of longing for something and an associated emptiness. I’m thinking right now of two couples who are friends of mine that deal with the pain of infertility. Their pain is powerful and at some times overwhelming. Perhaps this is more of the Biblical idea of lamenting. It’s not a complaining spirit or a whining attitude. It’s a genuine…even desperate sense of loss.
One more type of grief, is a mourning over our own sin. This is grappling with our inadequacy and our own dependence on the Lord. There should be sorrow in our hearts over our pride, our sinful attitudes and actions and our failures. Perhaps this is why Jesus started this discussion with the idea of being poor in spirit. When we recognize our inner poverty, it brings about a godly mourning.
So, why is it a blessed experience? Because the Bible promises that those who mourn will be comforted. This comfort is “the ultimate consolation and encouragement that God alone can effect for those whose mourning expresses their sense of total loss and helplessness.”
Comfort comes from God Himself (2 Corinthians 1:3). It comes from the Holy Spirit who is given the description of “the helper” in John 14:6. It also comes from other believers. The first section 2 Corinthians 1 talks about the fact that we receive comfort so that we can comfort one another.
Here are a couple of practical handles to learn to mourn well…even to worship as we lament:
- Don’t fight the mourning process. It is designed to help us and to drive us to God. We need the healing of our tears.
- Express it. Find individuals who will walk with you through your valley. They may be from a small group you are associated with. They may be a pastor or other ministry leader. Maybe a Biblical counselor will be necessary at some point.
- Be there for another in mourning. Most of the time, those in mourning first need our presence. They need to know that we grieve with them in their loss or their unfulfilled desire or the recognition of their sinfulness. They need us to sit and cry…and pray with them. Words come later, after we have demonstrated the compassion of our hearts.
What are some of the things that have been most helpful to you during seasons of mourning in your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.