Summary: Mourning could be a means to blessing.
ILLUSTRATION JONI EARECKSON TADA said, “You don’t have to be alone in your hurt! Comfort is yours. Joy is an option and it’s all been made possible by your SAVIOR Jesus Christ. He went without comfort so you might have it. He postponed joy so you might share in it. He willingly chose isolation so you might never be alone in your hurt and sorrow.”
Here is a person who understands what it means “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) This is our text for meditation this morning.
1. WHAT DOES THE TERM “MOURN” MEAN?
To “mourn” literally means “to cut or beat the chest in grief.” It also means to grieve, be sad, and to lament. It is the kind of grief which overwhelms a man and cannot be hidden. It is not only the sorrow which brings pain to the heart but also tears to the eyes. Thus weeping or crying is a normal part of life and God allows it to be expressed.
ILLUSTRATION The Arabs have a proverb: "All sunshine makes a desert." The land on which the sun always shines will soon become an arid place in which no fruit will grow. There are certain things which only the rains will produce; and certain experiences which only sorrow can beget.
Did you know that the ability to cry is a gift of God? The pain and the anxiety we hold in can poison our entire emotional system if it isn’t released in tears. It is very natural to mourn. In the Old Testament, mourning was expressed by weeping (Genesis 37:34); by loud lamentation (Ruth 1:9); and by the disfigurement of the person:
a. Tearing the clothes and wearing sackcloth. (Genesis 37:34-5)
b. Sprinkling dust or ashes on the person (2 Samuel 13:19)
c. Shaving the head(Job 1:20),g
d. Neglect of the person or the removal of ornaments (Exodus 33:4)
e. Fasting (2 Samuel 1:12)
f. Sitting in silence (Judges 20:26)
Perhaps today we mourn in different ways but it is acceptable and normal. Some thought that if we are good Christians, filled with the Spirit, we will experience no sorrow and will wear eternal heavenly smiles like Mona Lisa’s. But life is filled with uncertainty and we could not discern our next situation in life is. Laughter is essential, but we cannot ignore the reality of grief and sorrow.
The world despises sorrow so much that it has gone wild in its attempt to avoid it. They keep telling us smile, laugh it out, and enjoy your life but these are denials of the pain and aches and when it happens it will come out in different forms – rebellion and insanity.
2. WHEN IS “MOURNING” AN OPPORTUNITY FOR BLESSING?
a. Mourning is an opportunity for blessing when we mourn for the losses of man.
The Bible gave examples for mourning like loss of a loved ones and loss of properties because of natural calamities. Abraham mourned for Sarah (Genesis 23:2) and Jacob for Joseph (Genesis 37:34). Job mourned for the loss of his children and properties (Job 1:20-21)
ILLUSTRATION Recently a ship carrying 1400 passengers sank in the Red Sea and only about 324 people were rescued and the rest were feared lost in the chilly sea. The natural response to this was anger and mourning especially so that most of the passengers were Egyptian workers returning from Saudi Arabia.
What will you tell the families of these victims who depend for support and care? Not to mention missing the presence and love of their beloved. We don’t know if there are believers in that tragedy but God said “blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
Our God is the God of all comfort and who comforts us in all our troubles. Comforting is part of God’s being and it speaks of His concern to relieve sorrow or distress, to cheer up, and encourage. How does God comfort us?
• His presence through the Holy Spirit will touch our hearts and minds and change our situations. He sent Jesus His Son to proclaim the message of salvation and comfort.
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.