To mourn is to 'feel regret or show sadness about the loss or disappearance of someone/something.' I think it’s fair to say that a lot of things we dreamed of and hoped for, ‘disappeared’ from our grasp over the last 12 months. We are still mourning the loss of so much and it can be overwhelming to process.
Yet in Matthew, Jesus tells us ‘blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.’ Blessed when we mourn? Sounds like a contradiction on paper and yet it is absolutely true in practice. How? God’s comfort is so much greater than earthly comfort, and to be comforted by Him, is to be blessed.
It is easy for us to think of comfort as a temporary state of relief, like a hug. Yet the comfort that God offers us is not just a temporary easing of pain, it is permanent through redemption.
In Isaiah 49:13 we hear that ‘the LORD comforts his people and has compassion on [them]’, and in Isaiah 63:9 it says ‘in his compassion he redeemed them.’ God calls himself ‘Yahweh! The God of compassion and mercy!’ in Exodus 34:6; it is in his very nature to have compassion on us, his children, and the best part is that in his compassion (which is guaranteed), He redeems us!
We can be comforted because our God saves us and reclaims us as his own; He delivers us from suffering into abundant life again. Our comfort comes from knowing that through our God we don’t have to stay in our pain as He exchanges our mourning for dancing. He comforts us through our hope of redemption. He comforts us through redeeming our situations and bringing good out of dark situations, not just temporarily, but continually.
This last year has not been 'wasted' despite how we may feel, because in Jesus' compassion and love for us, he has reclaimed it for His good purposes! Amidst our mourning for this year, we can be comforted by God, our Father, our Friend and our Redeemer.
Is there mourning that you need to do in order to receive more of God’s comfort?
We invite you to join us as we journey slowly and prayerfully through Isaiah 61 - line by line over forty days.