“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
What a simple truth.
The Bible is the most amazing and remarkable written work with layers of meaning in the style and structure. And, we could spend a day that I would delight in talking about the Beatitudes in just such terms.
But, in its most simple form this truth is a parallel or “If/then” promise. I promise. Comfort requires something of you, “if you _______, THEN you will be comforted.”
It’s not just a season, it’s a surrender to the season. Mourning is not just a span of time, it’s what you do in that time.
Here’s what it does NOT say- “Blessed are those who keep a stiff upper lip, who let loss roll right of their back, who press on… march on unphased by life and its storms. Blessed are those who can self-talk their way out of darkness, who don’t tolerate pain or the weakness it brings, those who conceal, press down and are thoughtful enough to smooth over, gloss over and bandage their wounds to spare others the sight of their mess. Blessed are those who’ve mastered their hearts and feelings with maturity and perspective so that when lives are lost, dreams, expectations and realities changed… they move on quickly and without lingering.” Nope. Not in the Bible I’m reading.
Friend, the Lord promises no comfort for such soldiers.
It’s reserved for those who mourn. Those who pentheó.
It is grief manifested. Grief, proper and proportional to the size of the hole left by loss. It is communicated and shared, expressed and worn- on faces and shoulders. And sweet friend- this is for you- it changes the whole world who see your suffering, when they see it truly comforted. Something is changed in the very air around you when that heavy garment is exchanged every morning or in the darkest hours of night, for supernatural comfort, peace and yes, even joy.
And those who are hurting in our burdened midst are robbed of encouragement the Lord intends they have, when we reject the need to mourn. When I work so hard to be sufficient, strong and unmoved by what surely breaks my heart, when I show no need for a Comforter, no need for a Savior… sure enough, no Comfort comes. And, someone in need, someone watching from their own place of pain, has a little less hope that Comfort will come to them.
We leave the world wanting and with nothing to satisfy, if on our hard days, they only see our ability to be resolute and not the assurance that on their hardest days, they will be held. And it will require no strength of their own.
We cannot fully identify with Christ, if we cannot fully identify with His brokenness, with His disappointments, His grief and mourning. And, we do not reflect Christ at all if we don’t show these things CAN and WILL BE comforted, eased and healed by something and someone outside ourselves and abilities.
The Man of Sorrows knew we would have sorrow and so He sent the Comforter. For those who mourn.
Blessed are those who mourn, who in their transparency and need open their hands and release what they cannot bear, to the Savior who can. And, in so…ARE COMFORTED INDEED!