When Adam and Eve fell from grace in the Garden of Eden, mourning became a common theme for us. Grief, sorrow, and lamentation are our lot, for death and suffering entered creation through their original sin. And we, too, have contributed to this mourning through our own participation in sin. But the good news of this passage is that the Lord sent his Son to comfort us. The Lord has not, and will not, abandon us. He is not distant, rather he is present to us in our mourning.
We all know the sting of loss, whether that be the death of a loved one, or the loss of a long-lived relationship. We are no strangers to mourning. Mourning is the opposite of the happiness we all desire, it is the intense realization of the loss of happiness. It is a powerful emotion, that manifests itself in powerful, tangible ways, through our tears and our deep, inexpressible sense of the loss of happiness.
There is a reason why we call these nine verses of the Sermon on the Mount the “Beatitudes.” The word Beatitude means, “supreme blessedness, exalted happiness.” We are dealing with a holy paradox here. Yes, mourning is a reality in all of our lives. But as believers in Jesus Christ, we have been blessed with a deep faith. In Jesus we have seen the depth of God’s love for us. Because of this, we can believe that, even in the depths of our mourning, he is with us. We know in our hearts that he alone has the power and the love to comfort us in our most difficult times. It is sometimes difficult for us to believe, especially when we are in the midst of our sorrows, but through faith we know deep down below our suffering that God in his Holy Spirit is with us. We know that he knows our suffering intimately. If we suffer patiently in this faith, he promises us Beatitude. This holy patience often seems bitter to us, but through our faith, we know that the promise of its fruit is inexpressibly sweet.
Everybody knows the famous poem “Footprints.” We imagine that the speaker of the poem is addressing Jesus and when he/she looks back over his/her life he/she notices that there are always two sets of footprints in the sand behind him/her, except in the times that were difficult. The speaker asks Jesus why he wasn’t there with him/her during those times of difficulty and mourning. Jesus responds, “I was there. When you see only one set of footprints, that is when I was carrying you.” Jesus is not distant from us in our mourning. He is right there with us. His graces abound at those times. What is needed only is our faith in him and his love for us.
Lord, in our mourning strengthen our faith in your love for us. Give us the strength to patiently endure our mourning with unwavering hope. Be our comfort. And help us to be a comfort to those who mourn around us. We ask these things in your name, Jesus. Amen!
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