Blessed Mourner

Recently I was awake in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, missing Sarah, and thinking about the past forty months. As I was lying there, Matthew 5:4 came to mind and I pondered it at length. Since then it has continued to roll around in my heart and mind.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

I vividly remember years ago being taught that the mourning referenced here is specifically mourning over our personal sin, not the mourning of suffering and loss. The argument presented for that view was convincing and I believed it. So much so that I have probably even repeated or taught it at some point.

But as I was lying awake in the still of the night mourning Sarah’s absence and our family’s loss and suffering, I remembered that teaching and recognized the error of its exclusiveness.

Indeed there is a blessedness to mourning over sin, but how terribly shortsighted to narrow the application of this precious truth to that alone. In so doing those who mourn over loss and suffering are robbed of the rich hope of the full meaning of this simple yet profound promise.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Sarah’s physical death and the many smaller tragedies surrounding it intimately acquainted me with the gravity of the devastating brokenness and fallenness of this world. Through the agony of mourning, my desire for this world and anything it has to offer has been stripped away. A response repeatedly reinforced by every other tragedy and injustice I see.

Solomon recorded a similar realization in Ecclesiastes 4. “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold [I saw] the tears of the oppressed and [that] they had no one to comfort [them;] and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort [them.] So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living” Ecclesiastes 4:1-2[NASB].

Unlike Solomon’s account, though, I clearly see and know a comforter, The Comforter, who longs to comfort. Through my mourning He has made Himself known, and I am blessed to clearly see and intimately know this comforter.

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 [NASB]

I knew Him and I knew He was a comforter prior to experiencing the depths of sorrow. But I did not truly know and understand the immeasurable magnitude of His comfort until I knew the agony of the deepest depths of sorrow and mourning that require it.

As I plunged deeper and deeper into the depths of sorrow, He proportionately poured out His comfort in a way that profoundly grew my knowledge, understanding, and experience of Him and it. Through mourning I know Him in a way I did not, would not, and likely could not know Him apart from mourning. A precious blessedness of intimacy with Him, and trust in Him, is created in the divine colliding of His comfort with our mourning.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

The mourning of my soul in response to Sarah’s absence lingers like Paul’s thorn. A mother never stops loving and longing for her child. I will always love and long for Sarah and as a result I will mourn her absence until my final breath. But in every moment that I have mourned Sarah’s absence, His comfort has faithfully met me there.

Through His proven faithfulness to comfort me in my mourning I am blessed with confidence in the certainty of His faithfulness to continue to comfort me. I will continue to mourn, but He will also continue to comfort. Though the world may weary of comforting the mourning, He never will.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Through mourning my gaze has been lifted and fixed heavenward. My sorrow a continual reminder that I am just a sojourner here, a stranger in a world not my home. His comfort draws me to Him, to long for Him above all others and all else. My mourning and His comfort cause me to live expectantly, eagerly waiting and longing for Him and His return.

Encouraged by the comfort He has already given, we can be confident in the ultimate comfort yet to come. As He faithfully comforts us in our mourning by His mercy, grace and power, we are strengthened to fruitfully persevere, comforting others with the comfort He has given. And so our mourning and His comfort work together in us to enable us to boldly and joyfully proclaim the hope and comfort of this great truth, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

“The mourners shall be ‘comforted.’ Even now they get beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Sowing in tears, they reap even here in joy. Still, all present comfort, even the best, is partial, interrupted, short-lived. But the days of our mourning shall soon be ended, and then God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. Then, in the fullest sense, shall the mourners be ‘comforted.'” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Come, Lord Jesus.

Artwork: Sarah Harmening

3 thoughts on “Blessed Mourner

  1. I really needed this today. Thank you for posting. When I met you a few weeks back it was such a blessing. You are definitely someone I continue to look up too.

    1. I’m so thankful you were encouraged. It was such a blessing to meet you and your husband also, though our hearts ache for you. Praying for you now, that you will continue to know the nearness of God, His comfort, and His daily new mercies.

  2. looove this! especially need His comfort as we enter this time of year(3 years later). blessings and comfort to u💜💜💜kristin philipps

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