Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). It is hard to understand how we can be blessed while going through great sorrow and pain. Sometimes things come crashing into our lives that cause us great sadness, mourning and throw us out of sync. No one wants to go through sorrow, yet life is simply not filled with laughter and joy all the time. Believe it or not, it is not good for us.
Grief comes many times throughout our lives, such as when there is a death of a loved one, the death of a pet, the loss of a job, or the loss of advancement in a job. It can come through divorce, the loss of a friend, a move from one community to another, the loss of a dream (goal), the aging process, or when children leave home by going to school or by getting married. Grief can come from marriage itself, financial difficulties, the illness of a friend, or a friend moving. The list could go on and on.
In John 11, we read about the death of Lazarus who was Mary’s brother (Mary, the one who anointed Christ’s feet with fragrant oil). Her brother was ill, so she sent word to Christ Jesus who loved Lazarus. You have heard the expression, “Boys don’t cry”—well, Christ wept. Many thought He wept because of His love for Lazarus, but He actually mourned over their lack of faith in Him and in the Father. Verse 4 states that when Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Then, in verse 40, He states, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
Those who are able to feel the pain of the loss of a loved one are better off than those whose feelings are numb. Psychologists now confirm that people who never feel sorrow can never feel joy. It is literally true that the happiest people are those who experience the depths as well as the heights of human emotion.
It is much like coming through a cold bitter winter or a horrible storm. When the sun comes out, then and only then can we truly appreciate the sunshine. If it were always sunny, how could we truly appreciate it? There is an old Arab proverb that says, “Sunshine all the time makes deserts.” Nothing grows in the desert that is continually filled with sunshine! It is the rain that brings forth the greatest growth. Ecclesiastes 7:4 says, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” So why is it good to mourn?
What I have learned about sorrow
* Going through sorrow causes us to stop and take stock in our lives.
* It makes us ponder the whys of past or current events.
* It gives the opportunity to draw closer to God.
* It gives God and others the opportunity to love and comfort us.
* It teaches us how to comfort others.
* It gives us understanding of other’s sorrow and grief.
Through sorrow, we grow strong as we let God into our hearts through the broken places. L. B. Bridgers discovered this the day he lost his wife and family in a tragic fire in their residence in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, on March 26, 1911. His response was to write the song, “He Keeps Me Singing.”
“There’s within my heart a melody.
Jesus whispers sweet and low,
‘Fear not, I am with thee. Peace, be still,’
In all of life’s ebb and flow.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know.
Fills my every longing.
Keeps me singing as I go.”
Let us be kind and patient with each other in times of sorrow. It is a necessary part of growth. Be there for one another. Encourage one another and remember there is hope and sunshine after the rain that produces growth in you and in others.
The Friendship Book, written in 1950, has a quote about suffering. “When misfortune comes to you, it is two things. It is a pity. Who would choose to be bereaved, to have to tread a hard road, to be out of work, to suffer pain, to have sadness in his heart? But it is also a challenge. It is a challenge to make the best of things, to keep on somehow, to be patient, brave, and hopeful; a challenge never to let misfortune make you bitter or break your spirit. And the wonder is this—that so often misfortune brings a blessing with it to those who accept the challenge.”
Going through sorrow is certainly a challenge, but there is a promise that God holds out for all of mankind. Revelation 21:4 states, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (King James Version).”
Yes, blessed are all of us who go through periods of mourning, for we shall be comforted, the sun will come out, and spiritual growth will emerge!