Comfort in the Mourning
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matt 5:4 NIV)
I recently attended a wake for a young teenager who tragically took his life in our small, rural town. I was with a good friend of mine, a veteran infantry sergeant from the Iraq war. We stood in the line of those waiting to offer their condolences to the grieving mother and father. As we approached, I took note of the father. He, I understood, was also a veteran soldier. My friend was this man’s next door neighbor in our small town and one of the man’s few friends.
As each person, one after the other, greeted them, the mother stood weeping. The father, however, stood strong as a soldier. And then we reached them. I talked to the father first. Then my soldier friend approached him. This hardened veteran soldier, the father of this young son whose life was lost, reached out and grasped my friend and burst into tears. The loss was too great and the pain was too powerful to be mastered by even the toughest of soldiers. This father is not serving Christ and his family is not a Christian family. Yet, in the deep resources of his heart was a deep mourning for the son he had lost. His mourning was due to a loss of comfort. God gave a son to this man. That son provided 16 years of comfort to the father. Now the comfort God had so long provided was gone from him. The thief truly comes to kill, to steal, and to destroy.
This is one of several recent tragedies that have occurred within my “circle of concern”, those people to whom I am in some way connected. I have been responding to these with a different heart, lately. God has been emphasizing to me that our mourning is a small reflection of what God experiences as He mourns, and even weeps, over the tragic effects of a sinful world. “Jesus wept”, the bible says, as he stood outside the tomb of Lazarus. Even Christ, with a full understanding of all hope and comfort to be found, still wept when faced with the tragedy of the death of a dear friend and the grief of those family and friends who mourned him. If we grieve so deeply in tragedies such as these, how must God feel as He looks upon the tragedies within His infinite “circle of concern”? If we are concerned for all involved, how much greater is God concerned? If we love and care, how much higher is His love and care for all "those who mourn" throughout the whole world, both past and present.
Jesus taught that in His kingdom, those who mourn are blessed. The blessing is that they will be comforted. The Holy Spirit is also known as the ‘Comforter’. Jesus said that when He went away He would send the Comforter to us. I know that when this hardened soldier, this grieving father, reached out in tears to grab hold of my friend, he did not know it, but he was really reaching out to the Comforter that was present in my friend. Where the devil had come to destroy comfort, God was very present to provide comfort. The whole community came out, from every walk of life, to greet this family and show support. Many of them were Christians. This grieving mother and father were surrounded by God’s faithful and comforting Spirit. God was comforting those who mourn.
God is a present help in time of trouble. But, He also promises that one day all our tears and sorrow will be wiped away. We will live in perfect comfort for all of eternity. When facing mourning in yourself, or in the lives of those you love, find the Comforter. He is our blessing. Allow Him to comfort you, or to comfort others through you.
There is always comfort in the mourning!