Tuesday, August 24, 2010

God's Comfort

Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”

Many times we try to spiritualize this beatitude and make it mean something spiritual in nature but I believe Jesus was dealing with a very important part of the human psyche that is often damaged by not knowing how to properly deal with loss. Grief is a normal part of life on earth. We’re in a temporary situation. People die. Things get lost. Favorite clothes wear out. Friends move away. Loss will always be a part of our lives as long as we live. None of us live forever in this life, so all of us will die and when someone dies, it is not only normal, but helpful, to grieve.

When Jesus told us to mourn, it was so we could experience comfort. He wanted us to know loss is important and should be dealt with constructively. For example, we can know a deceased loved one is with the Lord and doing well in eternal bliss, but we still miss them terribly and we need to grieve our loss in order to receive God’s comfort.

Jesus included mourning in his list of beatitudes so we could understand that grief is God’s gift to deal with the temporary nature of all things earthly. Since loss is a normal part of the human condition and it can sometimes be devastating, we need to learn how to deal with it.

Sometimes the loss will be minimal and fleeting—such as the loss of a beautiful flower that fades. You are sorry the beauty is gone and it must be discarded, but the mourning is minimal because it was expected and can be replaced by another flower or a work of art that pictures the flower.

But sometimes the losses are huge as we mentioned earlier, such as the death of a family member or friend. Or, the loss of a job we depended on for income and life purpose. In such tragic or difficult situations the pain can be excruciating and extended. If we ignore the pain or try to stuff it down somewhere into the inner parts of our psyche, the pain will not go away, it will just fester and boil until it finally breaks out in some physical or emotionally unhealthy way.

So, as Jesus said, we need to grieve our loses. The grief should be appropriate—we should not grieve to the point of being inconsolable for an insignificant loss, nor should we try to move on too quickly when the loss is considerable. But whatever the situation, be sure to grieve your losses so you can experience God’s comfort.

Notice Jesus didn’t just say “Blessed are they that mourn”. He continued with the encouraging words “for they shall be comforted.” Notice particularly that he said “be” comforted. This implies someone else is involved in the comfort and I think we can assume he meant God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When we grieve our losses, we experience God’s comfort. When we help someone to grieve appropriately, we work together with God in his comforting work.

At the loss of a loved one, grief is God’s way of helping you through this difficult time to victory in the days ahead, so just let him love you and share your grief. Take the time you need to find healing. Grief is God’s process to bring you complete healing, but it takes time. Time is part of the healing, so don’t rush anything so significant.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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