Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5: 4
There is no doubt that God promises special comfort to those who have lost a loved one. The promises include,
- Psalm 34:18—The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
- Psalm 147:3—He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
- Revelation 21:4—He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Sorrow and mourning are natural parts of life. It is God who gave us the ability to cry. In fact, Warren Wiersbe says, “As you read the Bible, you get the impression that God expected His people to weep. ‘There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die… a time to weep and a time to laugh’” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4). He goes on to say,
“When God created the first man, He gave him the ability to weep, and He did this before man had sinned. Natural weeping is not sinful. On the contrary, it is a gift from God. There is healing in natural weeping.… Natural sorrow expressed in mourning releases a healing process in people’s lives that enables them to accept the pain, work their way through it, and adjust to life again.”
Those who have lost loved ones need to remember that God knows exactly what it’s like to lose a son! So if you have suffered a loss, weep. Scream at God. He can take it. But rest in the assurance that He is the God who knows and understands, and be comforted with His “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7)!
Having said that, this natural sorrow is not not—or not only—what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 5:4. Rather, this beatitude builds upon the one before it: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” You see, those who stand humbly before God, understanding their own inability to stand righteous before Him, will mourn their sinful ways. David Brainerd captured this attitude when he said, “In my morning devotions, my soul was exceedingly melted, and bitterly mourned over my exceeding sinfulness and vileness. I never before had felt so pungent, and deep a sense, of the odious nature of sin, as at this time.”
If he had stopped there, we would not see the comfort promised by Jesus. However, he continues by saying, “My soul was then unusually carried forth in love to God, and I had a lively sense of God’s love to me.” And in those words we see the promised comfort. John Stott goes on to explain,
“In other words, we don’t just wallow in sin. It isn’t only Christian tears that we have to weep. You go on after God has given us an assurance of forgiveness to rejoice with exceeding great joy. But such mourners, you see, who bewailed their sinfulness are comforted. Comforted in the only way they can be comforted, by the forgiveness of God, until the final state of glory comes, when sin is no more, and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.”
Lest we misuse this gift of mourning and of comfort, Billy Graham points out that
“The opposite of mourning is insensitivity, lack of caring, unconcern, callousness, indifference. When I mourn it is because my heart has been touched by the suffering and heartache of others—or even by my own heartache.… the person who mourns is a person with a tender and sensitive heart.”
What do you do when you see suffering around you? Are you touched by the suffering? Do you act to relieve the suffering in ways that are within your means? Once again, Jesus tells us why that is important. In Matthew 25 He says,
“‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:34-40).
You see, God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4, emphasis added).
We are never meant to hoard the comfort God gives. Rather, we are meant to share it with anyone in our sphere of influence. When we do, we will understand David Brainerd’s joy when he contemplated God’s love for him.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell….
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Heirs of the King: Living the Beatitudes (Discovery House, 2007), loc. 558.
 Ibid., loc. 565, emphasis added.
 John Stott, “The Sermon on the Mount,” https://christianuniversity.org/lessons/the-christians-character-matthew-51-12/?course=courses/the-sermon-on-the-mount-2
 Ibid., emphasis added.
 Billy Graham, The Secret of Happiness (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2011), p. 41.
 Frederick M. Lehman, “The Love of God,” public domain.