“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” -Mat 5:4
Loss is a fact of life. It seems to be a part of us from the earliest of our human experience.
There is a seemingly constant cycle of physical losses. A newborn baby – though welcomed into a whole new world of existence – loses the quiet comfort of its mother’s womb. The toddler loses his or her “baby fat.” Baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth. And so it goes . . . until we find ourselves as our human lives are winding down and we lose things like our hair and our hearing, our memory and our mobility. We learn to try not to focus on what we’ve lost, but to celebrate what is left.
With life, also comes the loss of relationships. There are childhood friendship that are affected when one family or the other moves to another state or another neighborhood, when different schools are assigned or even different classrooms in the same school. In our teens, there are dating relationships that never become permanent. As adults, divorce may come uninvited into our life story. Spouses pass away suddenly from accidents or illnesses. The unthinkable comes to us when we lose a child. We lose our parents. Our siblings go into eternity before us. Mourning comes to rest within us and we are not sure what to do with it.
The loss seems unbearable. The hurt is immeasurable; the wound seems unhealable. Yet, it is into the circumstance of mourning that we can hear the proclamation of the Beatitude that says, “Blessed are they that mourn . . . “ What’s that? There is blessing in mourning? Somewhere in all this dark night of a broken heart and broken dreams, there is a blessing? His Word was specific . . .”Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.”
The word mourn – from a word “pentheo” meaning “to grieve” – comes itself from a word “pascho” which identifies it as a sensation or expression of pain. Mourning is a painful experience of life. It comes to all of us at different times and for different reasons. Yet, still, the promise is there that on the other side of it is comfort.
In John 14, as Jesus was sharing some of His last words with His disciples, one of the things He wanted them to know before He left the earth and the life they had known together was this: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” He wants us to realize that when times our mourning come – when our hearts are broken by grief – He will be there with us. He will comfort us. He comes with calmness for your troubled see. He brings companionship in your loneliness. He brings healing to your suffering. He feels your hurt; He weeps your tears. The Comforter steps in and reminds of the words penned by the writer of Hebrews: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities…” He knows. He understands. He turns mourning into dancing. He comforts.
Robert Schuller once said, in reference to this particular beatitude, “Blessed are whose dreams are shaped by their hopes, not by their hurts.”
“Blessed are they who mourn . . .”