Last month we began a series on happiness with a special approach. We’re looking at the sermon on the mount, and specifically the beatitudes. The beatitudes are several statements Jesus made in which He clearly defines what true happiness looks like.
In most translations of the Bible, each beatitude begins with the word “blessed.” That word, according to scholars, is most accurately translated as “happy.” So in this unique portion of the gospels, found in Matthew 5:3-11, we find what Jesus said about happiness.
An Unexpected Statement
The second beatitude is found in Matthew 5:4 and reads,
“Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.”
Those Who Mourn…
to feel or show deep sorrow or regret for (someone or their death)
to feel regret or sadness about (the loss or disappearance of something).
Mourning is very connected to the loss of something or someone. The most obvious reason to mourn is after the death of a loved one. And this beatitude is a great promise in that situation. But there are many things we can mourn.
Many hospice patients experience the loss of activities they loved. Some may experience the loss of relationships that are no longer available. But all hospice patients experience the loss of something we may not all see as a loss. That thing is good health and its promise of long life.
The Importance of Mourning
But notice Jesus doesn’t say that it’s those who experience loss who are happy. Rather, he says that it is those who mourn. To mourn is not just to be sad, but to express that sadness. Sorrow and loss happen to us, but mourning is a choice.
Jesus is saying that in times of loss, we have an opportunity. Once again, it is an opportunity to position our hearts to receive true happiness. We have a choice to make. The choice to mourn.
Psychologists agree that mourning is a crucial part of processing any significant loss. It’s important to verbalize and actualize our sorrow. One of the most unhealthy ways to deal with a terminal diagnosis is to completely ignore it. Sorrow needs to be expressed.
A Promise of Comfort
And now the second part–the promise. What does Jesus promise to those who mourn? Comfort. And it’s not just the natural comfort that comes with healthy mourning. Instead, Jesus says that we will “be” comforted.
Of course, it’s wonderful to be comforted by close friends and family. And our caring and compassionate staff are active in comforting patients and family members alike. But this is more than human comfort as well.
This is a promise of personal attention from God the Father. This is a commitment of friendship from Jesus Himself. And this is a powerful guarantee of the Holy Spirit’s presence with us.
Look at this beautiful passage from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 which actually refers to God the Father as the “God of all comfort.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
And see this promise of comfort from the Father and from Jesus Himself.
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
And look at what Jesus says in John 14:16-17 (Amplified Bible) about the Holy Spirit, who lives in all believers, calling Him specifically, another “Comforter.”
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Gr Paracletos, one called alongside to help. Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor–Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever–the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you”
Comfort in Prayer
This comfort is found in personal intimacy with God. So this mourning is more than just mourning. Rather, this mourning is expressing our sorrow and loss directly and personally to God in prayer. We pour out our hearts to Him and experience His presence. He comforts us as we entrust our sadness and pain to Him. As we release our grief into His care, He lifts us, supports us, and heals us.
It’s important to note, especially in this particular instance, that when Jesus talks about happiness, He’s not talking about the fleeting euphoria of good fortune or the naive giddiness of a lucky life. In fact, He is using the example of grief to make a point about happiness. He’s saying that it doesn’t depend on circumstances.
Notice Jesus doesn’t say, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall get back what they lost.” Instead, He paints a picture of happiness in the face of death and loss. He does this once again to drive home the idea that this life, with its fickle and erratic ways, is no place to look for happiness at all. Instead, we are to look to the eternal and unchanging God Himself. He and He alone is the source of true happiness.
At Seasons Hospice in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we care about you and your well-being. Our goal is to help you make your end-of-life transition as full and comfortable as possible. If you or a loved one are in need of hospice or palliative care, please call 918-745-0222 and speak with one of our experienced and caring staff today. We are here for you and your family to answer all your questions and help you find the care you need.