By Barnabas Piper
Nothing is more frustrating than a problem we cannot fix. I can think of about seven billion of these problems: people. We can’t fix people. Yet we try with blood, sweat, and tears. We try to solve their hearts and their sin and their pain. Sometimes we help. Often we are fruitless. Instead of a tidy resolution we are left with the residue and detritus sin leaves behind in all its acidity and stink.
And none of this touches on the misery of trying to solve ourselves. Just as we cannot fix the sin of others, we cannot fix our own hearts either. Each day we wake up and realize we must live another day as the same person who went to bed the night before. And each day that person is just barely bearable. By distraction and grit, we make it. And then the next day we start again.
Left to itself, this reality would exhibit the laws of spiritual inertia—a decline to death, decay, and rot. Without an outside force good enough and powerful enough to solve these problems, they are condemnation. We are left with no hope, nothing but sadness. But we have such a force, and He spoke a few simple words a few thousand years ago to a few thousand people on the side of a mountain: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
Jesus was not offering trite promises of happiness. He wasn’t merely giving out hugs and smiles to make people forget their unsolvable sin (though I am sure He did not lack those for the needy). Neither was He setting up mourning as an aspiration—“blessed are those of you who can maintain a certain level of moroseness and misery”—as some Christians seem to believe. Jesus was offering hope to resolve the unresolvable. He was the hope.
All the way back in Isaiah, God promised One who would come to “heal the brokenhearted” and “comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2). Like us, the people then would have heard that as someone to rescue them from circumstances and make life all better. Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s promise by doing both much more and much less. He did make life all better by crucifying sin and death. He did rescue us from the worst of our circumstances: our own sinfulness.
But Jesus did not fix our daily circumstances. Not yet at least. We still live in the pain of sin’s effect, but we know with certainty that our mourning will be comforted in full when Jesus comes again. Because our lives and hope and happiness depend on this comfort, our thanks run deep. We are thankful for the rescue that has already happened and for the one yet to come—the present comfort and the future comfort too.
Written By Barnabas Piper
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6 thoughts on "Blessed Are Those Who Mourn"
I’m really thankful that I don’t need to sit in condemnation. I should allow the sorrows of life to affect me in a deep and real way, but they shall not allow my emotions to dictate my life in and of themselves. We should let our sorrow lead us to repentance, and it is there we fully realize mercy. And it is in that place we find the grace of God, enough to do exceedingly more than we can ask for or think.
I am so grateful that my bonds were broken by Jesus, who came to lift me up from the mire I was more than happy to run to. And because of that, I no longer have to sit in self-depreciation and fear. I live in a world that challenges my identity and flings things to excite my attention every day. It will tell a story of my sin swallowing me whole, of it making me unredeemable. But as convincing as these things seem, they are untrue. Even more so, they are a series of half-truths, finding many believers in their seemingly real applications.
Yes, I am a sinner. Yes, the penalty is eternal. But no, it no longer holds me. God stepped in and changed everything. He looked at my life and said that those who mourn are blessed. He told me that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be satisfied, because their’s is His Kingdom. Thank you God.
It would seem that this is an exhortation to avoid being glib. Allowing the weight of reality to sink in brings with it the promise, the hope, of future comfort. Blessed are those whose joy bring solemnity. Blessed are those who find comfort now in the things of the future. We are already mourning and not yet comforted, now.
How awesome to know that no matter what we go through, no matter how bad we mess up or how bad life gets us down there is an undeniable light of hope shining from Jesus!!! He never leaves us or forsakes us!! In face he promises that this short time or hurt and mourning will be over and eternity of love peace joy and comfort will be our lives!!! That encourages me so much to live for the Lord no matter what comes my way!!
We in and of ourselves can’t fix people. We can’t fix ourselves. We can try and try all we want but eventually we will fail. We must rely and trust in God to be our change and our hope. He is the only one that can give true hope. The world offers a hope that lasts only so long. God offers true hope than will last eternity.
Day 3: It’s not about who can go the longest or suffer the most. God calls us to mourn and grieve, but that’s to lead to our repentance to him and joy in the hope he gives. I’m thankful for a hope, as so many people do not have it. They mourn in an earthly way which is not healthy. Rest and mourn in our God, for he is our hope.
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