Summary: How Jesus comforts us and teaches us to cope with the "losses" of life.
(Sermon #4 of the Sermon on the Mount Series)
J. Richard Lord, Jr.
Parkview Church of the Nazarene
The Mourning Shall Be Comforted
It is a fact of life that at some point in our lifetime we will be faced with loss. Loss of jobs, loss of property, loss of loved ones, even loss of dignity. It is also a fact of life that we will find ourselves in a state of mourning over these losses. Part of our ability to survive in this life with our sanity intact comes with our ability to cope with our losses and to somehow exit the state of mourning.
Persons who never get over their losses are faced with the inability to restore normal function to their life and spend the rest of their life crippled emotionally. For person to function normally in this life there has to be a mechanism in place that will help them rebuild their life after their loss.
It is easy to assume that in this Beatitude, Jesus is referring to people who have faced loss. Of course, anyone who has any length of time on this earth has faced loss, so this could apply to all of us.
I believe that Jesus is referring in part to these very numerous and very normal losses that all of us face. When we lose loved ones and other things in our life that are important to us, it is very natural that we mourn.
Jesus certainly understands what it is to mourn. He Himself stood in front of the tomb of a very dear friend and wept over his death. Even though in the very next moment, He raised His voice and struck death aside and called Lazarus to “come forth,” He felt the bitterness of loss.
Coping with loss is not easy. You can lose your favorite pair of glasses or favorite pair of socks to the hungry maw of the electric dryer and you will have temporary pangs of mourning over favored items. Lose a long time pet and the mourning is deeper. Lose a parent or relative and the pain is greatly increased. Lose a spouse or a child and it is almost unbearable.
But regardless of the severity of the pain, the coping mechanism is the same. God has given us, built into our very nature, the ability to cope with loss.
Granted, some people can cope with loss better than others. A very complex set of emotional matrices determines our ability to cope with loss.
We can understand them well. Some of us have observed in our lifetime some people who have suffered tremendous loss, such as: jobs, health, even much loved close relatives, and they seem to come through it with mind and happiness intact and survive very well.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are some people that fall apart emotionally if their goldfish dies, or other some small loss in life. Their coping mechanism is inefficient and in need of repair.
However, regardless of how well our coping mechanisms give us the ability to survive the losses of this life, I believe that part of what Jesus is referring to is that there is a power, a strength and a grace, that is a gift of God, that is available to those who have committed their life and trust to Him that fills in the gaps of our natural ability and causes us to not only just survive the losses of our life but to achieve a victory, a joy, and a confidence that the losses in our life cannot dim.
This is what we normally understand as being “comforted.” However, it is not just a case of the Holy Spirit just coming down to us and putting His arms around us as we would a little child and saying, “There, there now, it’s going to be all right!” He does do that, but He also does much more than that.
To comfort us,
I. HE CHANGES OUR VIEWPOINT OF LIFE.
When I was a child, I was making a road trip with an aunt and uncle and some younger cousins of mine. On the way, my aunt fixed us a peanut butter sandwich to eat. My cousin Dennis, who is about seven years younger than I, accidentally tore up his sandwich while trying to eat it. He began to cry and then got mad and finished ripping to shreds in frustration and threw in on the floorboard of the car.
Of course, my aunt, in an effort to teach him a lesson, refused to make him another sandwich. He finished the trip crying over the loss of his sandwich. It set him a bad mood for most of the rest of the day, and somewhat soured the trip for the rest of us.