When We Mourn | HAPPY”NESS
Monday— “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
-“Oh man, I got carried away last night and did something really stupid! I’m so embarrassed. Hope it doesn’t catch up with me.”
-“We lost everything in the fire: my model car collection, our wine cellar, and our Beatle’s LP’s. I’m really grieving over it.”
Is that the kind of “mourning” Jesus means? We mourn over lots of things and no blessing comes our way. So what kind of mourning does God promise to comfort? What kind of mourning actually leads to blessing and happiness?
Despite the popular notion that Jesus came to earth to bring us health, wealth, and success, that’s not actually what He said. Before we can experience the level of joy and contentment that God designed for us, we first have to mourn over our current state. As our eyes slowly open to the reality of who God is and who we are, our sins and failures loom large. Activities and attitudes we once thought were fine start to look hideous. How could I have done that? we think, and we mourn over our own sin. We grieve when the name of Jesus is dragged through the mud by hypocrites and scoffers. We are heartbroken as we watch loved ones being destroyed by sin. Jesus promises supernatural comfort when we look to the cross and see forgiveness, mercy, and relief that a better day is coming, a day when heartache is gone righteousness is the law of the land.
Final Thought: What causes you to mourn? Is it the kind of mourning that God offers to comfort?
Prayer: Father, I’ve mourned over a lot of things that don’t really matter: a crush didn’t like me, car repair was too much, I lost a contest… But how much time have I spent mourning over my own sin? Readjust my priorities so I can be comforted. Amen.
Tuesday— The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
The lab results revealed the worst. The love of your life filed for divorce. The child you love wants nothing to do with you. This world is filled with reasons to mourn. Legitimate reasons. The human heart was designed with a tremendous capacity to love and to experience a rainbow of emotions. But many of those emotions hurt. Sadness over someone else’s choice. Hurt from betrayal. Disappointment when a bright future has turned into a dark tunnel. Is God indifferent to our heartaches? Absolutely not. In fact, many places in scripture reveal that He too experiences sorrow over our rejection of Him. So He understands.
It’s impossible to avoid troubles while we live on this fallen planet. Jesus said so in John 16:33. But for those who know and love God, sorrow doesn’t get the last word. When we look up, God draws near. The Holy Spirit wraps His arms around our hearts and cushions the blows as our minds adjust to a new reality. God never expected the human heart to struggle through grief, a broken heart, or depression alone. He planned to be there with us, whispering comfort, reminding us that this world is only a fog separating us from eternity. But if we stiff-arm Him during good times, we may forfeit His comfort during heartaches.
Final Thought: If you’re brokenhearted or crushed in spirit, look up.
Prayer: Lord, you know what I’m facing. You care. I abandon my own efforts and receive your comfort. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday— We want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
He’d lived an honorable life, faithful to his wife, and a good example to his children. He’d honored the Lord since he’d met Jesus at the age of 20 and helped many others to do so too. Then at 50, cancer struck hard. The entire community was shocked, including his devoted wife, a nurse. He fought back, but cancer wasn’t kidding and after six months, he was bedfast at home with his wife as his caregiver. During the last week of his life, he was heavily sedated and uncommunicative. Then one afternoon, as his wife quietly read the Bible to him, he suddenly bolted upright, opened his eyes and looked up. A radiant smile spread across his face and he cried, “Oh-h!” toward the ceiling. Then he closed his eyes, sank back against the pillows, and died. His wife smiled through her tears. She’d been privileged to watch her beloved husband step into the presence of Jesus.
Death is sad for those of us left behind. Mourning for loved ones is right and healthy. But Christians should never mourn the way unbelievers do. Since they have no hope, non-Christians spout nonsense like “She’s an angel now” or “He’s watching over us.” They grieve hopelessly because they know it’s all over; but we grieve joyfully because we know it’s just begun. When someone leaves behind a clear testimony of God’s saving grace, their funeral is a celebration. Christians can smile through our tears knowing we will see them again. We’ll join them in worship around God’s throne. We’ll have eternity to catch up. So Christians are blessed when we mourn the death of another Christian, because we have hope that the best is yet to come.
Final Thought: The funeral of a true Christian can be a time of celebration because we know where they are.
Prayer: Father, thank you for reminding me that I’ll see my Christian loved ones again. I can mourn, but not in a hopeless way. They’re not dead; they’ve simply changed addresses. Help me remind other mourners of that hope. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday— All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. Hebrews 11:13
Strangers and exiles. Have you considered that to live as a Christian in this evil world, we must be prepared to live as foreigners? Aliens. Citizens of another kingdom. Most people who consider themselves Christians have no intention of living like that. They love the world! They’re running in the same rat race as everybody else: make more money, get ahead, make yourself happy, use relationships to validate yourself, dull sad feelings with chemicals or addictive behaviors… But the Bible tells us that to be a Christ follower, we have to die to all that. If Jesus is not Lord over our choices, He’s not our Savior either.
What does it mean to be a stranger and an exile? First of all, it will be difficult. We’re to live a counter-cultural lifestyle because culture is ruled by our enemy, Satan. Culture says, “Do what makes you happy!” God says, “Do what makes ME happy.” Culture says, “Create your own moral code.” God says, “I am the moral code and I wrote it down for you.” Culture says, “I can define God in ways that satisfy me.” God says, “I AM that I AM and you redefine me at your peril.” So we really have only two choices: we can be at home in this world or we can be at home in God’s kingdom. The two do not intersect. We can play by Satan’s rules or we can submit to God’s. (Hint: God is the only one who has our best interest in mind.) Mourning reminds us that there are many griefs beyond culture’s ability to resolve. This world can do nothing about despair, loss, betrayal, loneliness, abandonment, or death. We are blessed when we mourn because forces us to decide: In which world am I at most home?
Final Thought: Do you live as a stranger and an exile in this world or is your lifestyle right at home here?
Prayer: Lord God, do my lifestyle choices indicate that I’m living as a citizen of your kingdom? To be at home with the world’s ideals means I’m an alien to yours. I choose today to be an exile here so I can be welcomed into your presence. Amen.
Friday— He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others…with the same comfort God gave us. 2 Cor. 1:4
-“I don’t want to talk about it,” Mel said. “It’s shameful.” Lydia smiled. “I understand. Did you know I went through that too?”
-“I can’t tell anybody,” Luke admitted. “They won’t understand.” Hal nodded. “I do. Can I tell you about how God healed me?”
If feels like senseless pain. Pointless suffering. Why, God, why? And we struggle through it, wrestling through dark nights of the soul with, questions, anger, and frustration. But in those dark valleys, we have the opportunity to grow. Not all will. Some people use suffering as an excuse to become hardened and bitter. But wise people let God work in them. It’s painful and we’re tempted to give way to despair. But when we climb out of that valley into the sunshine, we see Jesus smiling at us. He turns our faces to look back. “What you thought was meaningless pain,” He whispers, “I’ve used as a refining process. Now you’re ready to help the people I’ll bring you with what I’ve taught you.” No hurt is meaningless, no pain wasted if we trust Him with it. And He will use it in ways we never imagined. Blessed are those who mourn when they hand God the heartache.
Final Thought: When you went though a dark night of the soul, which direction did you turn— bitterness or God’s comfort?
Prayer: Father, I’ve gone through pain that felt meaningless. But I’m ready to trust you with it. I think you wanted to teach me something if I hadn’t been too angry to learn. Please redeem my mourning. Bring good from it. In Jesus’ name, amen.