How Does God Comfort Those Who Mourn?
- Carey Kinsolving Columnist
- 2004 11 Nov
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).
"If you cry, it will get better" is the meaning of this second Beatitude, says Brittany, age 6. Brittany, if you cry for the right reasons, you will indeed get better because God will comfort you.
"This verse means to pray for those who are sad," says Todd, 9. "Try to help them take their mind off it. Invite them over to spend the night or to a water park." I don't know if God comforts by sending the mournful to water parks, but now that you mention it, I've never seen anyone mourning while slipping and sliding around curves, screaming at the top of his or her lungs.
"I mourned when my puppy ran away," says Taylor, 11. "I cried for hours, wanting him back, but he never came back. We got a new dog, but I still cry sometimes." All of us experience losses, but our hearts don't want to accept them. We're left feeling hurt and powerless.
"'Blessed are those who mourn' means that God blesses those who have a tender heart," says Sean, 10. No pun intended, but now, we're getting to the heart of the matter.
Of all the paradoxes in the Beatitudes, this is the most dramatic. "It's an astonishing thing to speak of the joy of sorrow, of the gladness of grief, and of the bliss of the brokenhearted," writes Bible scholar William Barclay. Jesus was called a "man of sorrows" because he understood the destructive nature of sin and evil. Yet it was the joy that was set before him that gave him the strength to endure the cross. Jesus knew that his suffering would both purchase our salvation and please his Father. This gave him great joy and purpose.
We, too, can have joy in the midst of sorrow if we believe that God's grace and sovereignty are greater than any loss or disappointment. We may not understand why God allows tragedy to strike us, but we can rest in his infinite wisdom and tender mercies. One look at Jesus' suffering on the cross, and we know he understands our pain.
"This means that those who feel sorry and awful for what they did wrong will be comforted by God," says Avery, 11. Jesus began his ministry by reading from the Isaiah scroll in the synagogue. He declared that the Lord had anointed him to preach the gospel to the poor and to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18).
King David wrote that a "broken spirit" and a "contrite heart" are offerings that most please God (Psalm 51:17). When faced with the consequences of our own sin and the suffering of living in a fallen world, we can harden our hearts and become cynical or open them by crying out to God for help and comfort.
"It means blessed are those who are lonely, they will be comforted by God," says Marshall, 9. The pain of our loneliness can be so intense that even our closest friends and relatives can't understand, but God does. He knows we need fellowship with him and others. The isolation created by self-pity is never the answer.
Author Gene Davenport writes: "Genuine comfort ... the strength to endure the ravages of the Darkness without bitterness or despair ... is solely a gift. It is the expression of God's own presence, the assertion of God's own sovereignty over the Darkness."
Point to ponder: God will heal the brokenhearted when they look to him. Scripture to remember: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).
Question to consider: In the midst of your sorrow, do you believe God is good?
Inspire your children by reading this column with them and visiting the Kids Talk About God Web site at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.