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Matthew 5:4

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

I recently listened to a re-dramatization of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Dame Agatha drew that marvelous story out of the heartache of mourning. The story was built around the extended grief caused by the kidnapping and murder of a child.

Mourning is indeed one of the most painful aspects of life in this fallen world. Every pastor has to deal with such heartbreak. Many years ago I was pastor in a dairy community near a large city in Texas. A family I did not know came knocking on my door one morning before daylight asking if I would pray for their baby. Unfortunately their baby, who turned out to be a four or five year old child, was already dead. The child had died that night in a careless accident. And, of course, the hearts of that whole family were broken.

My Father's heart was broken when my mother died after they had been married 60 years. I had no memory of seeing my father weep in my entire life, even at his own mother's funeral. But for over a year after my mother's death he hated to go anywhere because he could not seem to speak to anyone without tears streaming down his face.

The one time that Scripture tells us Jesus wept was at the graveside of a friend. Jesus knew He was preparing to raise Lazarus from the dead. But He also knew the depth of pain death inflicted upon those whom He loved.

You can read a great deal about means of comforting those who have lost loved ones. And I am sure many of them have some efficacy. But there is a depth of pain there that can never be completely alleviated in this life.

And yet we find this promise from Jesus, that those who mourn are blessed because they will indeed be comforted. The comfort Jesus is speaking of is greater than any comfort we can administer. And in fact this is a comfort we can only grasp by faith in this life. God alone can bring about complete comfort to those who mourn.

In the Return of the King, the final book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sam Gamgee wakes up after the ring has been destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. He is amazed that he is alive. And Gandalf, whom he was certain was dead, is standing before him. And he asks, “Is everything sad going to become untrue?” Though we must endure heartbreak in this life, we are promised all things lost will be renewed and every tear will be wiped away when we stand before our Lord in the end. And while it is hard for us to believe from this perspective, the goodness of that day will be good enough to turn even our heartache into comfort. Our deepest heartache will be replaced by Joy.

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