If you missed last Sunday's Worship Gathering - wow, you missed a good one! If you were there, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing your voice singing out to God under the musical leadership of Jeff & Lynel. I loved teaching you the Word of God (and am thankful for God's grace as I communicated to you.) And I enjoyed giving you a rubber band. Are you still wearing yours as a reminder that you were made to stretch and serve others?
Today on the blog, I want to talk briefly about the second beatitude as we continue our mini-series walking verse-by-verse through Matthew 5:3-12. Here is what verse 4 says:
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
I just got a text this week that the mother of one of my high school friends passed away. Even though I heard last week that Chad's mom was coming toward the end of her battle with cancer, it still hurts to know the end came.
So Jesus's words would probably sound very strange to Chad and his family right now. Why should they feel blessed or happy as they mourn the loss of a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother?
To understand this, we need to go to the cross.
God the Father once lost His only Son. But he didn't just "lose" him. Jesus died a horrific, barbaric death. The Romans and jealous Jewish leaders tried to rip his life from His body. Even though God knew from the time of Adam and Eve's sin what would take place to restore humanity to Himself, it still hurt when His only Son was being mocked, rejected, flogged, and crucified by the very creation that God was saving through this act.
God knows what it means to mourn. He feels far more deeply than any of us ever will. He knows what true joy is, but He also knows what true pain is.
[W]hen we mourn, [God the Father] is closer to us than ever. That is why when we mourn, He is closer to us than ever. He knows far better than us what we are feeling and experiencing. When God made Eden, He didn't design life to contain so much pain. That's why He hurts when we hurt. And He seeks to comfort us through the cross, to not only let us know He's been there, but that this pain is not the end.
God describes Himself as a Father of mercies and a God of comfort in 1 Corinthians 1. We know this aspect of our Heavenly Father's character best in our moments of pain and loss.
That is why Jesus says those who are His followers are blessed when they mourn because they actually can understand the Father far better than ever, and they can sense His comfort far greater than ever.
So Jesus's words might seem backward and a bit unexpected, but they are true. If you are mourning at all today, if you are struggling in any manner, know that the God of Comfort is with you in your pain. May you find your healing and rest in the Father, who knows what it is to lose a part of Himself because He went through it to redeem you.
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