October 03, 2013

Through Tears, Comfort

Matthew 5:3-5

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


Grief is universal. We have all tasted the bitter pain of saying good-bye to a loved one who has died. Maybe you have shed tears at the funeral of your spouse, or you have endured the unimaginable pain of burying a child. That walk through the valley of the shadow of death may have been last month or many years ago, but the ache never goes away.

Unfortunately people don’t always know what to do with those who mourn. Well-meaning folks may try to minimize the pain by using trite phrases or empty words. We might sentimentalize death, or deny the finality of it. Jesus cautions us that denying our pain is a dead-end road that offers little comfort.

In Jesus’ kingdom, mourning is a reminder of comfort. Jesus himself, when confronted with the reality of the grave, wept (see John 11). He mourned. He grieved. And he grieves with us in the loss of a spouse, child, or other loved one. He stands alongside us in our pain, and he sheds tears with us.

But that’s not all. Jesus came not only to shed tears; he came to shed his blood. He faced death squarely, submitted himself to it, and conquered it.

Because he triumphed over death, we can be assured that one day we will live in a world without disease, mourning, or cemeteries. Knowing that Jesus has overpowered death offers us comfort when we mourn.

O God, the sting of death is bitter and strong. Yet it is not final! Comfort all who mourn; assure them that death is swallowed up in your victory. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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