Chuck Foreman – Teaching / Missions Pastor
In our last message, we saw how we commonly approach The 1st Four Beatitudes as if they are instructions for us to “be like this and you’ll be among the blessed.”
If this is true, we would have to rewrite this 2nd Beatitude. It would have to read, “Be mournful and you’ll be blessed.” Somehow I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind at all. Jesus did not say: “What a fine thing to be mournful! Those people are blessed!” He said…
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
If there is mourning, some kind of suffering has caused it. How can anything good come out of suffering? How can suffering, which brings about equally painful mourning in us, result in blessing?
No one wants to suffer. Deep down we know we were not created to suffer. We run from suffering. But we are reminded time and time again that suffering is a tremendous teacher, perhaps the best teacher. Kenneth Bailey says, “Pain rearranges our priorities.”
A good friend of mine, who recently lost his wife to an agonizingly long, drawn out battle w/cancer, has analyzed his own grief. He has this to say:
Those of us who have reason to mourn can have 1 of 3 outcomes:
- The event defines you and you can never really move on. Everything you do or say or think is framed by your loss. You become a victim of the event and get stuck.
- The event destroys you. It permanently changes you and the path you follow brings you to mental decay or physical frailty. Eventually you are unrecognizable.
- Or, you overcome the event and grow spiritually and emotionally again. This last option cannot be done alone. You must ask God to take you there. He will if you will, because he wants to bless you with his comfort.
All the reasons for mourning are the biggest, single argument against the existence of a loving God and faith in Him, if he even is there. “How could a loving God allow such pain and suffering?!”
The problem of pain and suffering in our world is an obstacle to faith for many.
But what we need to understand is that suffering and our mourning that goes with it, is part of the story of our fallen world and of a God who is involved and caught up in the story right there with us.
God has been just as affected by the brokenness in our world as we have. He mourns with us! Don’t ever forget that “Jesus wept!”, when he saw the sisters and friends of Lazarus mourning Lazarus’ death. And when Jesus saw the widow of Nain mourning the loss of her only son, Luke tells us, “his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” People, that was God expressing his own sorrow over our suffering!
God is right there in our pain with us because he knows, better than anyone, that his once perfect world has been broken by sin, and he is not about to let his story end like this!
Our Story, God’s Story is not stuck in suffering and grief; it’s moving in the direction of this 2nd Beatitude!
In his vision, John saw the ultimate restoration & renewal of all things. Listen to how this part of our story turns out:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”
“No longer will there be any curse.”
BIG Idea: Those who mourn now are blessed because their sorrow is not the end of their story. Their sorrow is producing a depth of character in them that nothing else can. And their ultimate blessing is the comfort reserved just for them from God himself.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”