The Comforter Comes in the Mourning

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Photo credit to a friend who takes spectacular sunrise photos!

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

Desperation, destitution, total dependency, that’s what a life in Christ consists of.  That’s the kind of life that understands the bliss of being in Christ no matter the circumstance.  That’s the kind of life that can pen “It is well with my soul…” and mean it.  It’s that kind of life that comes to Christ in the first place.  And it’s that kind of life that remains in Christ, that hears His voice.

Well, today His voice is saying, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”  And what does that mean for me?  What did that mean for You, Jesus?  Hm, I think it has everything to do with this truth:  “Who [referring to Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon HIm the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  (Philippians 2:6-8)  Yes, Jesus, You were speaking from experience here.  Because You were walking through the reality of dying to self.  And for You, what a way bigger thing that is then for me.  Because I just have to turn away from my humanness.  You had to turn away from Your divinity and step down into humanness and be surrounded by that which You abhorred.

I think of that and part of me wants to argue.  Because on one hand You were surrounded by those You loved though yet we didn’t know how to love You back.  But on the other hand, sinless God entered a world full of sin and chose a life within flesh living among the sin that offended His very nature.  So what would You be mourning over?

Well, this word that You chose, “pentheo for mourning, is also used in 2 Corinthians 12:21 and 1 Corinthians 5:2.  It’s really a graveyard word.  It’s used when someone dies to express the “grieving and intense emotional agony” felt.  So what would You, Jesus, have been mourning?  I think there were lots of things that grieved Your heart this deeply.  I think it would be a grief to experience stepping out of heaven and into a fallen world.  That every step was a reminder.  And if it weren’t that You had the joy of the promise of God to look forward too, it would have been totally depressing.  But I think part of the mourning was looking at us like Paul did in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians.  “And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail [pentheo] many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.”  Imagine that Jesus mourned so much over our repentence that He went so far as to die to set us free and bring us there.  Why?  Because true, Godly mourning brings us to the point of death.

And maybe this mourning isn’t something different than becoming poor in spirit.  Maybe it’s just part of the same reality.  Maybe it’s just going deeper into that reality.   Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 5:2, “and you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead”.  So I see that mourning is the opposite of arrogance.  Where mourning is, arrogance can’t reside.  Why?  I like how Skip Moen put it, ” Because mourning takes us toward God.  At death, we see the truth about ourselves.  We are all the same.  We will all come to the same end.  The only difference between you and me is God’s grace, nothing more.  What can I take pride in when I am reduced to the same plot of ground as all other human beings?  What matters in my vain quest for ego inflation when the dirt covers me?  Without God’s grace, I am just as lost, just as lonely, just as guilty.”  Isn’t that true?

But it’s not just that the truth about myself is that I’m nothing without You, Lord, and without Your grace.  My heart begins to grieve over what You grieve over.  Do I grieve over it the way You did, the way You do?  Do I live for it the way You did, the way You do?  Peter tells me “For even hereunto were you called:  because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth:  Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes you were healed.”  This is my example of mourning and what it should look like in my life.  This is my example of mourning and how it should be lived in my life.  This is Who will live it out in my life if I surrender fully to Him.  This is what I am called to.  I am called to die so that I may live in Him.

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Maybe I hear that word comforted and I get this picture of someone patting me on the back or giving me a hug and then I feel better.  Or maybe it’s just a feel better kind of word.  But it’s from the word “parakaleo”.  It’s all about the roll of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the Parakaleo, He’s “the One called alongside, the advocate, God’s personal attorney sent to help us.”  That word has four principal meanings.  The parakaleo comforts, calls, beseeches, and encourages.  But the point is that I must die to my self and be brought to life in Christ, in His Holy Spirit, in order to be comforted.  My comfort, my encouragement, my calling, the One who beseeches me must become my life and my life source or I am none of His.

This is deep truth here.  I look back at my own life and even as a child I see and hear You calling me unto You.  Even when the circumstances around me were not upholding Your Word, I see You reaching out to me and calling.  And bit by bit I heard and grasped those whispers until You brought them all together.  Because You kept beseeching me to come.  You didn’t give up.  You were relentless and persistent and terribly gracious.  You opened my eyes and showed me my need, my desperate need for You and You brought me to the depths of despair to think of what a life would be without You in it.  And as I saw how desperately I needed You, You accepted me and made me Your own.  You comforted me and You still comfort and encourage me.  And the thing is, You are the comfort.  You are the encouragement.  You are my calling.  You are the One who beseeches.

It’s not a one time deal.  It’s a life style.  It’s more than an attitude.  This must be who I am.  My life must resemble Yours.  My heart must resemble Yours.  You come closer than beside me.  You abide within me.  How can I resist feeling and being and walking like You?  I mean, if we are truly that close?  So are we? Lord, may I be so focussed and in tune to You and Your will that we walk as one despite the circumstances around me.  Lord, I’m dead, and I can’t help myself.  Bring me continually alive in You.

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