Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:1-2,4

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” Job 42:2,5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-6

Blessed: made holy; consecrated. Endowed with divine favor and protection. Old English blēdsian, blētsian, based on blōd ‘blood’ (i.e. originally perhaps ‘mark or consecrate with blood’). The meaning was influenced by its being used to translate Latin benedicere ‘to praise, worship’, and later by association with bliss.

There is something palpable, thickly arresting and indescribably distinct, about those who mourn. A newborn but too-small baby, a college-bound son, a college freshman, a thriving soon-to-be-college-graduate daughter, gone, never to breathe again on earth, never to be seen again this side of heaven. A marriage that spanned decades of children and celebrations and shared heartache and memories, irreparably torn apart. A home built with love and adorned with years of living, burned to the ground. Where is the balm in this undefinable loss? Blessed are those who mourn?

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In each case, blessedness comes in acquaintance with the Man of Sorrows as He walks alongside through the valley of holy ground, however long and dark. Those who mourn know the comfort of Jesus in a way that those who have not will ever know. There is an abiding, an invisible companionship, a common knowing, a shared suffering, a sacred bliss that blesses the deep recesses of the soul in inexplicable but salient ways. (Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 53:3-5)

Mourners hold a unique, and strangely enviable, identity. In the darkest caverns of grief, they discover the crystalline facets of grace jewels hidden only there. Theirs are the blossoms in the desert, theirs the songs in the night, theirs the benediction of tangible comforts from the God of all comfort. (Psalm 42:6-8; Isaiah 35:1-2)

Mourning soul, you are blessed. Nest in, rest in, this place of divine anointing. You are sharing in the sufferings of Christ, with the power and assurance of His resurrection. One day, there will be no more sorrow, suffering, or tears, and until that day, you are enveloped in arms that were spread wide on a cross for you, to give you this very hope. His nail-scarred hands anoint your bowed head, and hold your tears. (John 19:17-18; Philippians 3:8-10; Revelation 21:3-4)

Merciful God, make Yourself known to those who mourn. Bless their sadness with Your celestial song, their emptiness with Your fulness, their loss with Your inextricable life.

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