Mourning to Comfort to Joy

Journal Entry // February 4, 2023

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (ESV)

Matthew 5:4

As Jesus builds on the beatitudes, moving from spiritually poor beggars to those that mourn over their poor spiritual estate and the havoc that sin has wrought in their lives, he states the good news that there is a comfort to be found in this mourning. The mourning that Jesus is speaking about is directly related to the understanding of our spiritual poorness. When we truly understand the devastation of sin in our life and the world around us, when we truly know the depth of our disobedience and rebellion against our holy God, then we will find ourselves in a state of mourning. Mourning over the hurt and pain that results from an understanding of the sin in our hearts. As we reflect on our lives and the waywardness of our souls, those who are receiving the kingdom of heaven will be led into a state of mourning. A time of deep grief as the waves of loss and brokenness wash over us. A deep grief that comes from a longing to see forgiveness and healing from the Lord. The good news that Jesus proclaims in this verse is of this very longing being fulfilled. Those who mourn… they will be comforted.

What does this comfort look like? I always tend to think of the image of a distraught child resting his head on the chest of his mother as tears stream down his face and her hand strokes the back of his head. A comfort of rest and security that I so dearly need when I am mourning over my sin. It’s a beautiful picture of the forgiveness and tenderness of Jesus as we mourn over our sin and seek comfort only in his loving arms. While this is right and true, I was challenged in my reading last night to see the way David writes about the relief of mourning in the Psalms. Psalm 30:11 Says,

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
     you have loosed my sackcloth
     and clothed me with gladness, (ESV)

As I have been thinking about this verse all week and rolling it over in my head, I have tended to focus mainly on that image of a child and his mother that depicts forgiveness, relief, and comfort.  This picture from David challenged me to think about the next steps of being comforted in my mourning. As my mourning, this deep grief over sin and the consequences of my waywardness, is comforted in Jesus and I experience his forgiveness and healing, I should not continue to be mired in this state of mourning. It is good and right to mourn over my sin, to repent of my sin, and find healing and comfort in Jesus. Yet, this comfort that Jesus brings should lead me to dancing! I am not much of a dancer, but even I know that what David is picturing here is a person that is excited about the forgiveness and healing he has found in Christ alone. His mourning is turned to exuberant joy through the comfort found only in Christ.

I think this is what Jesus had in mind when he tells us that those who are spiritually poor and mourn over their sin find comfort. This comfort comes from an understanding that our sins are forgiven and we can be at peace with God. As we rest in the comfort of Christ’s forgiveness, we find joy. Our mourning is turned to joy and dancing. I am encouraged to plumb the depths of my spiritual poorness to understand that the kingdom of heaven is mine. I am encouraged to embrace mourning and grief over the devastating effects of sin in this world and in my life to understand that there is comfort to be found in Jesus. And the comfort of Jesus does more than just bring peace and security, it turns my mourning into rejoicing. It will even bring my heart to sing and dance before the Lord as I celebrate the love of Christ poured out for me!

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