When we began this series I had no idea that when it came time to write the article on the second beatitude – blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted – that I’d be attending a funeral. In a few hours family and friends will gather to pay their respects, share memories, and offer comfort to each other at the passing of my grandmother, Hulda Heinold.
Perhaps on another day, I’ll share more about Grandma Heinold, her love of Jesus, and her gentleness of spirit. Today it is better to take up the second promise of Jesus.
The promise of comfort for those who mourn extends to all those who have suffered a loss in their lives. The death of a loved one is the most obvious but other losses are also included. Loss of a job, loss of health, and financial disaster all create the feeling of a world that has fallen apart. Jesus understands that loss and the feelings that overwhelm our souls. He met with a family whose brother had died, he wept at the graveside, and then he restored Lazarus to life again.
Whenever a loved one dies there is a longing for comfort; a searching for some way to make sense of the loss or to deaden the pain. But each experience of loss is unique and dependent on the relationship and the circumstance of their death. I began mourning my mom’s death weeks before her actual death because we knew in advance that she would not survive the terminal disease which was stealing her from us. Grandma Heinold’s death was sudden, even though she was 94 and suffered from dementia she was in relatively good health. One night she simply didn’t wake up. Other kinds of losses tear at our souls, the death of a newborn, the tragic death of a teenager, the needless death of a young mother. No matter the depth of our wound, the jagged edges left in our heart, or the darkness that envelopes our soul Jesus’ promise of comfort remains.
The trail through the valley of the shadow of death is not a paved highway. The journey from loss to wholeness has many bumps and unexpected turns. Something as random as the sunset striking a fencepost can trigger memories and the longing to feel or hear or be near someone we lost years ago. Jesus longs to walk with us through all of those moments, to bring us His comfort and peace.
Knowing that a loved one followed Jesus, accepting Him as their savior and Lord, provides a greater comfort. Paul wrote, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, NASB95) And it is a comfort to know that Mom, Grandpa Kindred, Grandpa and Grandma Heinold are in the Lord’s presence. That they are fully experiencing the peace and love of Jesus Christ.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted” also has another application, another meaning, and purpose in our walk with Jesus. But I’ll leave that for our next article. My encouragement today is to allow the Lord to comfort you in the losses of your life. Open your heart to receive His comfort and His healing today.