Sunday, March 1, 2015
MOURNING TO JOY
How many times have I read the great "Sermon on the Mount?" I have taught it, studied it, prayed over it and actually read it aloud on that sloping hill where Jesus is thought to have delivered it.
And every time I open the book of Matthew, something new appears.
Today it was verse 4.
"Blessed are they that mourn...." Matthew 5:4
All my life I've heard that the mourning here meant the sadness a person feels when they've realized the depth and depravity of their own dark heart. No doubt that is important and included.
But today, Pastor Chuck Swindoll of Stonebriar Community Church gave some added depth to the word.
He explained that this type of mourning was more accurately defined as "passionate lamenting." It means lamenting over the "WRONG that swirls around us and the WRONG that lies within us."
WRONG brings mourning to the believers spirit.
WOW! Somehow that helps. (Because I ALWAYS have to understand!)
That statement explains the terrible sadness I feel when researching the issue of Human Trafficking, when I see children bruised and crying, or young women struggling at the Planned Parenthood centers.
It explains the physical pain that develops in me when friends tell me their divorce is imminent, the cancer has returned, or their child has runaway to join some foolish cult.
It explains my tears when a child has died at the hands of his/her parent, when a person of any religion is beheaded, when complete strangers are captured by thugs on the other side of the world, or when a veteran is abandoned on the streets of America.
It explains the deep sorrow that washes over me when I hear an adult tell me of the abuse they suffered as a child and kept it a secret for 30 years, or when I become aware of family members that refuse to even speak to one another because of some ancient and now forgotten offense.
It explains why the lies, deceit, backstabbing and greed of our politicians are so offensive.
The definition explains why the foolish philosophies, racism, pride and ignorance that permeate the national conversations are so sickening and cause such grief.
WRONG....What a simple word!
Then there is the mourning for "what could have been" and of course the lamenting that occurs when a loved one leaves us here to grapple with their physical absence.
(I won't even begin to discuss here the wrong that lies within me! That's another article!)
Who mourns? "Believers that care intensely."
Who does NOT mourn? I'm sure there are people who do not care what happens beyond the end of their own noses or the noses of their immediate family members.
The good news? Matthew 5:4b "They shall be comforted." BY GOD! How supernatural is that?
Mourning over WRONG should be a part of life and Jesus says they that participate in it are BLESSED and filled with JOY.
Our world & our culture has lost it's way. Only GOD can provide LASTING JOY
and TRUE CONTENTMENT. The God of ALL COMFORT shows up AS we mourn!
CARING--to--MOURNING---to--JOY. Who knew?? This chapter goes against the world's philosophy of "how to be happy." (Aren't we told to look out for only #1, brush off what doesn't affect us personally, take a pill or a jog or a swig to deaden the view, buy a new car or some other toy, or just look the other way?)
The BOOK says it is God's plan for His people to genuinely and deeply CARE (even to the point of lamenting) about others and situations that are WRONG, experience HIS comfort and then do something to help relieve the suffering!
The benefits are out of this world!