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Friday Devotion 1-15-21

A devotional app I use has been going through the Beatitudes. These declarations of Jesus are found at the very beginning of his famous Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5, 6, & 7. The dictionary claims the word “beatitude” describes a state of utmost bliss. To read through the list – there are seven – the idea of utmost bliss does not immediately come to mind! The one that particularly strikes me is found in Matt. 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

To mourn is to grieve – to carry the burden of loss and sadness. Loss comes in many forms and many degrees. It encompasses all of life from small inconveniences to huge, heart breaking deaths and soul crushing circumstances. We certainly have had much to mourn in the past year and already in the new year. Where is the hope? Where is the blessing and comfort? Where is God?

Many days I wake up and the tears just come. The realities of life work their way to the surface and flood my eyes. My chest aches and my sighs surface and I just cry. I have chosen not to fight this urge to express my grief. Most times there is nothing specific that sets me off, but I give in to it, I let it out. And I am discovering that when I do, the hope comes, the blessing and the comfort well up, and God shows up.

That is the pattern in my experience and that is the evidence of Scripture. Psalm 30:5 says weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. And further in verse 11, the psalmist sings, “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” In Psalm 34:18 we read that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those whose spirits are crushed. And Psalm 126:5-6 makes this amazing claim: “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”

Jesus was a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” He wept at the loss of his friend Lazurus. In the garden of Gethsemane, he told his disciples, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death,” as he anticipated his own demise. He understands sadness and loss and comes along side us. He inhabits our grief. He transforms our pain and replaces it with joy. Just as we wouldn’t know light without darkness, we cannot know joy without experiencing loss. God is not silent or absent when we are hurting but is busy doing a good work in us that will reap a harvest of peace and joy in the end. Every tear is recorded on a scroll – every tear today is a seed of hope for tomorrow.

And someday, as we read in Revelation 21:4, God will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. The purification of pain and suffering will be complete and we will be whole and holy, forever in his presence! What a glorious hope for our momentary sorrow!

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