November 03, 2006

Mourners (1)

Isaiah 61:1-3

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4


The word "blessed" doesn't seem to fit with "mourn." How can it be a blessing to mourn--when our tears flow and our hearts are broken? The other day someone called to tell me that a 56-year-old acquaintance had suddenly died of a heart attack. Maybe you are mourning the death of a loved one, and your heart aches today. Maybe you're wondering what Jesus means by saying that those who mourn are blessed.

Notice that Jesus also says that those who mourn will be comforted. Real comfort is found only in the presence of God. Have you ever noticed that when things are going well, we often don't think much about God or of our need for God? But when sorrow comes, we are driven to God. We long for God's presence and the comfort it brings. In the midst of our mourning we are forced to recognize again where our hope comes from. And we hear Jesus say, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms... I am going there to prepare a place for you" (John 14:1-2).

In the darkness of our grief a glimmer of hope appears. We plead with the Lord to take our pain; to hold us in his arms and not let us fall. And the Lord promises to be with us. As we mourn, we begin to be comforted in God's presence.

Dear Father, so many people are mourning today. In the hour of their grief draw them to yourself and comfort them. We pray for all who hurt and whose pain is deep. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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