Jesus surprised His audience when He informed them, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4). The word the Lord used for blessed (makarios) means “supremely happy.”
But how can we be happy when we’re hurting? How can we find happiness and comfort in our mourning?
In my study of Scripture, I have found several legitimate reasons for Christians to mourn. People mourn the loss of a loved one, as Abraham did when Sarah died (Genesis 23:2). Some mourn for greater communion with God, as David often does in the Psalms (Psalm 42). Believers shed tears for the struggles of other believers (Acts 20:31), and for the challenges and hardships of life (Mark 9:23; 2 Kings 20:5).
Growing older in Christ may not mean that you will cry less, it might mean you cry more. But it redefines what you cry about.
What grieves your heart and causes you to mourn at age 50 is different than at age 5. For believers, spiritual maturity causes us to be grieved less over what we want, and more over sin and the consequences of sin in our lives and in the world.
Comfort always follows confession. And the maturing believer often finds himself at the foot of the cross. John the Apostle promised joyful confidence as he wrote to Christians that as we confess our sins the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:9).
Throughout life, there are four practical sources through which God brings comfort to us in the midst of our mourning over sin, suffering, difficulty, tragedy and loss.
WE ARE COMFORTED BY GOD’S WORD
Paul explains that through the encouragement of the scriptures we can find hope (Romans 15:4).
WE ARE COMFORTED BY GOD’S SPIRIT
Christ promised His disciples that God the Father would send another Comforter to them (John 14:16). He is a permanent infuser of strength and courage and hope.
WE ARE COMFORTED BY GOD'S PEOPLE
Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth of our responsibility to others:
The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:4).
WE ARE COMFORTED BY GOD’S PROMISE
One day God will wipe away every tear of sorrow and mourning caused by sin and suffering and loss (Revelation 21:4).
In heaven, all your tears will be gone. But let me tell you something about Hell. Jesus said that in Hell, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth forever (Matthew 8:12).
One of the tragedies about Hell is that it is a place where weeping will never end.
I remember witnessing to a Hindu some time ago. His religion told him that his life is an endless cycle of self-improvement. When I told him that the difference between his religion and Christianity was the fact that he could only wish his sins would be forgiven, and I knew mine already were, he hung his head and sadly agreed.
The believer is blessed – supremely happy – even in the midst of mourning, with the knowledge that our sins are forgiven, and one day we shall see Him face to face.
Today, let’s renew our confidence, hope and happiness in Him, His word and His promises!