Just like last week when we talked about the poor in Spirit, on the surface this phrase doesn’t make any sense either. How can you be blessed if you mourn? It sounds strange to us, mainly because we live in a society whose sole purpose and goal is the pursuit of happiness. We can very easily get caught up in this mindset as we live in this society where these attitudes are screaming at us every single day.
I’m going to start with what I believe was the application that Jesus was getting at when He said these words, but then I will look at a number of other ways that God can bless us through mourning.
Last week we looked at the blessedness of being poor in spirit. We discovered that we are blessed because we have come to the realisation that there is nothing we can do to add to our salvation and that Jesus has done it all. We are blessed when we humbly approach Him with a penitent heart and make Him the Lord of our lives. Today’s phrase follows on immediately after the statement about the poor in spirit and I believe it is linked to it by the mourning being a deep anguishing grief over our personal sin. This word ‘mourn’ has 9 different references in the New Testament to express grief and sorrow. This instance is the heaviest form of mourning, for example the mourning for the dead, an anguishing grief that is internally deep and exhibits itself through tears, weeping, and lament etc.
Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. (James 4:9)
This “mourning” is not just the initial feeling of deep repentance when we first get saved but it continues through a tender conscience that causes us to be very aware of our sinful failures when we do sin and to grieve over them. It’s a present continuous experience. This Godly sorrow produces repentance as it says in 2 Corinthians 7:10-11
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment!
This all leads to an awareness of our constant need for a saviour who comforts us. The believer groans within himself because of his foul sin, and looks forward with expectant hope for deliverance from it!
Those who don’t experience this sorrow are often hard hearted and this can be due to a number of reasons;
1. They have become comfortable with their sin or even have a love for it.
2. They are in despair feeling they are beyond God’s help, which is actually underestimating His power.
3. It could be conceit or arrogance, feeling that their sin is not ‘that bad’.
4. Presumption. A person who feels they are good enough and has had no sense of the depravity of their sin.
5. Procrastination. “I’ll repent tomorrow.” “Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Hebrews 3:7-8)
6. Shallowness. They don’t want to think too deeply about anything, especially their sin.
When we consider this subject, we need to realise that God doesn’t expect us to be happy all the time. Life is not some musical where we are supposed to be singing and dancing through it. Life is hard because the consequences of sin and rebellion are terrible. The bible is so honest and makes it clear that sadness and sorrow are seasons we have to go through;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4)
Let’s look now at some other ways that God uses mourning to bless us and comfort us;
(1) God draws us close to Himself
The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. (2 Corinthians 6:10)
(2) God grieves with us
We were made in God’s image and He is an emotional God
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”Jesus wept.So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:33-36)
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:2-3)
(3) God gives us a church family for support
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another……..Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour…….. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:5,10,15)
(4) God uses grief to help us grow.
Sometimes it is to get our attention and sometimes it is to bring good out of bad
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
(5) God is preparing us for eternity;
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
We can so easily forget that this life is not all there is. The life we live now is nothing compared to eternity, it is just a sneeze!
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
(5) God uses our pain to help others
who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Sometimes, your greatest ministry can come out of your deepest hurt and God will use it for His glory. Now isn’t that a comfort?