“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
— Matthew 5:4 (NASB)
Grief really is where life starts. At the end is the start, not the other way around.
The way to true life – the abundant life – is the embracing of the truth in pain and the truth of pain. Those who will honour their truth, who are mourners when life commands that they be, shall find the only comfort worthy of such grief.
The Comforter brings them the source of all comfort.
When we run toward God in our pain, instead of away, we find, finally, that we know God – that our Lord reveals himself as the only one who can assuage the pain.
To honour the truth is to practice courage, humility and wisdom all at the same time.
To honour the truth is to take the truth of life honestly and seriously – to respond as we ought to.
Yet, we flinch much from the pain of our circumstances. The world teaches us wrongly, and the flesh is willing to follow the crooked way (which we think is easiest, but, in fact, is hardest) because the flesh is lazy and brash – seeking comfort at any cost, without being willing to pay any cost to be healed.
The most challenging of Christian Scripture is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Yet we know implicitly, by the stunning nature of Jesus’ instruction, that this is precious tuition for life. If only we can abide by it.
We are bound to fall short. And, in this context, we are bound to prefer to deny our pain and refuse to properly mourn and to get angry, even though life is just life (life happens to all of us; ‘life’ happens to us all).
To hold the tensions of sound instruction with our fallen nature, we strike a balance of broken obedience and faithful nonchalance. The whole proviso of faith is it’s a living journey of reliance on Jesus.
A less than perfect adherence to Jesus’ instruction proves good enough, because grace bridges the gap.
Here is the better way to suffer – comfort comes when we genuinely mourn.
Surrendering to reality’s truth is a masterstroke of courageous honesty. This comfort of God is contingent on being honest.
The more honest we are about what we think and feel, the more our good Lord will comfort us as we mourn.
But mourning isn’t about self-pity. Mourning is viewing life through God’s lens and imagining the divine lament over inexplicable brokenness that we neither understand nor wish to accept.
QUESTIONS for REFLECTION:
1. How have you dealt with the struggles of mourning in your life?
2. How much of faith is about past experience of trusting God and finding he was faithful?
3. The experience of comfort occurs later in many cases than we would desire. How is faith expressed when we sit in the moment of our pain?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.