“Blessed are the ones who mourn, because they shall be comforted.”
Not Comfort for Loss
My original notion was that this was a general statement about God’s comfort for those who grieve over some deep sense of loss. Indeed, God IS “the Father of all mercies, the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our afflictions,” as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. At our house, my wife and I have suffered our share of losses, including our first two full-term babies that we did not get to take home from the hospital, and we can testify to the truth of God’s comfort.
Mourning the Truth
But I do not believe Jesus intended to emphasize that kind of grief and comfort in this beatitude. I am convinced that the second beatitude is tied closely to the first…I am broken, spiritually bankrupt, unable to give God the honor, glory, praise, obedience, and love that He so richly deserves…and it grieves me that this is so. The mourning here is over the condition that I find myself in.
It is common, I think, among humans, for us to recognize our failures, our sin, our inadequacies, but to somehow excuse them, or to downplay them. “I’m not perfect, but no one else is either. In fact, I am as good as most of the people I know, and better than a lot of others for sure.” Sadly, that kind of attitude leaves us where we are without a way forward.
Mourning Leads to Restoration
But if we look at who we are not, and allow ourselves to mourn over our inability to respond to God in the manner he richly deserves, then God will meet us at the very points of our neediness to comfort us and begin in us a process of healing and restoration.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth post in a series exploring the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. Read the last post on “The Beatitudes: Poor in Spirit”
The series is based on Dr. Bill Fowler’s Gilhousen Lecture given July 14, 2020 at YTI. Watch the entire lecture on Facebook here.