Summary: God gives favor to those with heavy hearts by offering them His comfort. I. Those Who Mourn the Departed Can Find Comfort in Christ. II. Those Who Mourn their own Failure Can Find Comfort in Christ. III. Those Who Mourn the Oppressed Can Bring Comfort Thr
Living in the Father’s Favor: Call Me in the Mourning
Intro: One could argue that nearly all adults and many children are in some stage of grief right now. I don’t know anyone who reaches adulthood without experiencing some level of loss or disappointment. Yes, we try to deal with it and move on, but grief recovery is a life long process. We learn to cope, but grief stays with us for the rest of our lives, and subsequent losses add sorrow upon sorrow. As those who have lost loved ones know, life will never be the same again. That doesn’t mean life cannot be good and enjoyable, but things will never be the way they were before our loved one left this world.
-So, we all live our lives in some stage of grief. Beyond the grief we experience when someone close to us dies, we also experience grief for other people and the disappointments they face. We experience grief over tragedies that occur in our communities and around the world. We grieve injustice and oppression. We are disappointed with ourselves because of our personal weaknesses and failures. We mourn for the human race around the world as we see how badly people can treat one another. Why is there such an inner ugliness that causes people to do some of the horrific things they do? Why do I see that same ugliness rise up within me sometimes when things do not go my way?
-A pastor wrote a poem in which people ask him for answers for the pain and despair they are feeling in the midst of their grief:
I’ve sat beside a tiny crib and watched a baby die
As parents slowly turned toward me to ask, oh Pastor, why?
I’ve held the youthful husband’s head and felt death’s sting and sigh
A widow looked with tears and said, dear Pastor, tell me why
I’ve seen a gold star mother weep and hold a picture nigh
Her lonely breast and softly ask, why, oh Pastor, why?
I’ve walked away from the cemetery where stillborn babies lie
A mother stretches empty arms and asks me, Pastor, why?
I watched my drunken father leave our home and say goodbye
While I looked into my mother’s face I asked, please tell me why
I’ve heard the white tip-tapping cane that leads a blinded eye
And then a darkened lonely voice cries, Preacher, show me why
I’ve caught a fiancée’s burning tears and heard her lonely cry
She held an unused wedding gown and shouted, Oh pastor, why?
I’ve heard a cancer patient say, it is gain for me to die
Then he looked into his daughter’s face and mutely whispered, why?
I’ve seen my mother stand beside two tiny graves and cry
And though she never let me know, I know she wondered why
I’ve heard an orphan faintly say, who gazed into the sky,
Though Mom and Dad have gone away, my Preacher will know why
I tiptoed to my Father’s throne so timid and so shy
To say, Dear God, some of Your own are wanting to know why
I heard Him say so tenderly, their eyes I’ll gladly dry
Though they must look through faith today, tomorrow they’ll know why
If now they find the reason that their hopes have gone awry
In Heaven they will miss the joy of hearing Me tell them why
And so I found it pleases Him when I can testify
I’ll trust my God to do what’s best and wait to find out why
By Jack Hyles
[Adapted from Joel A. Freeman, God Is Not Fair, New Leaf Press, April 1994, pp. 157-158.]
-This poem falls short of giving a good answer to the disappointments in life, but perhaps there is no single satisfactory answer. Many songs have been written to help us deal with these questions (We will understand it better by and by; Farther along we’ll know all about it). There are times when these songs and other answers help a little, but I also know that there are times when they seem like trite platitudes.
-In light of these difficult times we have and will face in life, there is one answer that we can hold onto until the very end.
Prop: God gives favor to those with heavy hearts by offering them His comfort.
Interrogative: How does this work? How do we know that comfort is available to us?
TS: I’d like to look at 3 kinds of sorrow that will result in comfort from God if we let Him do what He wants to do in our lives.
I. Those Who Mourn the Departed Can Find Comfort in Christ
-Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I recently heard that the Greek word for blessed (makarios) is where we get the word “macaroni.”