14th May 2011

Take Comfort

The second in the series on The Beatitudes

“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

The Bible exhorts us to rejoice and be glad so many times that it’s hard to see how unhappiness can ever be the right thing to feel. However, sadness and suffering happen, and even Jesus, who knows the outcome of it all, allowed himself some tears over the human condition (John 11:35). To grieve or mourn is not exactly the same as to be miserable. It is to acknowledge, to experience, sadness or tragedy that already exists.

Solomon wrote, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting”, and “the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure” (Ecclesiastes 7:2, 4). There are places that people tend to avoid entering in their minds: for instance, the meaning of existence; the amount of human suffering in our world; the futility of life apart from God; or specific personal experiences that if contemplated will raise unsettling issues in the mind.

It is easy enough, in a busy, noisy and crowded life, to avoid confronting inner unhappiness. Pleasures and physical comforts are easier to come by than tranquillity of mind; and maybe there have never been so many people so deeply discomforted.

There is a kind of mourning—awareness of our own or others’ sadness—that gives space in our hearts for the blessing of God’s comfort in a way that the pursuit of happiness never can.

I pray that you will send your comfort into the lives of those who come to recognise their need of it, and to those who look to you in their suffering.

Study by Fiona Jones 

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