Blessed Are Those Who Mourn: Lessons I’ve Learned from Grief
Grief is one of the most difficult experiences you’ll ever go through. Whether it’s anticipatory grief or grieving a loss that’s already occurred, it is a personal hell you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy.
It’s hard to put a positive spin on grief, it’s like the victim of a crime trying to redeem the character of the perpetrator who harmed them. It can be hard to see how any good can come from such a devastating personal loss.
If there is any true consolation amidst our own grief, it’s the fact that we have certainty of eternal life in Christ Jesus and the assurance of seeing those we love again. I wouldn’t even try to offer any type of sound bite cliche’s on grieving to the bereaved. Grief hits you hard, but the harmful cliches of consolation often hit harder because they sound disingenuous.
For example, “So sorry about your loss, God needed another angel in Heaven.” What a load of crap. Let’s have more wisdom and maturity than to say something as callous and insensitive as that. We’ve all done it, but we must learn to do better for the sake of those around us.
I like the Jewish custom of Sitting Shiva. It’s a dedicated period of sitting with the bereaved for seven days, followed by celebratory feast to mark the formal transition from grieving to mourning.
Obviously grieving will last a life-time, but the ritual as a tradition brings people to together for formal grieving rather than isolating the bereaved to a solitary struggle.
Grief is something you have to walk through, it cannot be avoided, nor will it be denied. It will demand all of your attention, whether you want to give it or not.
In my early walk with God, I always found it puzzling when I read the words in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” How could anyone find comfort in mourning? I wrestled with the meaning of this verse for many years until I experienced grief first hand.
Now I understand it. You encounter God’s comfort and care in unique way while you grieve. Miraculously you find hope in the middle of great despair. I’ve learned to stop over-analyzing it. To understand it, you have to experience it.
Jesus said He would send the Comforter, and that He would lead and guide us into all truth (John 14:26). I understand the comfort of God in ways that I never knew existed. I trust God to lead me out of my distressed thinking and into to the truth that we will see our loved ones in the life to come.
If you are grieving, I pray that you know that you are not alone, and that you are loved.
Much love to you from this Dusty Disciple.
Pastor Jeremy E.
The Dusty Disciples