Those Who Mourn.

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

Matthew 5

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10

The beatitudes have long been prized as humbling promises that we are taught to desire. The reality is that although they are beautiful to hear, they are quite hard to live. The funny thing about them is that we want the effect without the cause. We want the kingdom of heaven, but we don’t want to be poor in spirit. We want to inherit the earth, to be satisfied, and definitely to receive mercy. But we don’t always want to be meek, to hunger and thirst, or to… (gasp) show mercy.

I think that most of all, we want to be comforted. We want shoulders to lean on. We want trusted arms wrapped tightly around us. We want kind words, and we want friends to catch the tears. We want to be comforted.

And the fervor with which we want to be comforted is usually matched by a refusal to mourn. We refuse to admit hurt, and brokenness, and pain. We run from memories and fight when sudden instances take us unexpectedly to those moments.

But these beatitude promises are conditional. They are dependent on our willingness to do the hard things. And I’m coming to believe that that is what makes them so beautiful, so desirable to our fickle hearts.

I think somewhere deep inside we know that we were created for more than mundane surviving. We are not designed to just scrape by in life. We were created for abundance, for deep, deep joy.

Could it be possible that this richness, this deep, unshakeable joy, hinges on our willingness to do the hard things?

When I traveled to a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea after my college graduation, I lived with the loveliest family. The Passmore’s taught me about hospitality, prayer, joy, and pressing in to really listen to Jesus. They modeled for our team what it looks like to do family well. They are also fierce competitors, and anyone that prizes ice cream and loud laughs, and can get feisty over a card game will instantly earn my trust.

A couple weekends ago I traveled to Middle of Nowhere, Iowa to celebrate the life of their littlest love. Lilliana Joy passed away in her sleep at the end of October and we gathered with shattered hearts to remember her sweet cooing and gentle heart.

The Passmore’s aren’t perfect. (I’m sure Eve would want you to know that.) But I think that’s why I’ve grown to adore them so much. They do mess just as well as they do glory. And I think it’s their ability to embrace the fullness of each moment that causes them to leak freedom the way they do. They are honest about hard things. They model vulnerability and invite others into the freedom they find. They welcomed their community of family and friends into their mourning that weekend and though it hurt and was really, really hard, there was an immense comfort that radiated from the Passmore family.

I know that mourning is hard. I know it’s messy and invasive and makes you vulnerable more than you’d like to be. But maybe it’s hard because the glory of being comforted is too sweet to be easily gained. Maybe there is a greater discipline that comes through mourning that allows us to love more deeply. Maybe our hearts need to mourn to be whole again.

Is there something you haven’t been willing to mourn? Is there pain of depression and anxiety that you never wanted in the first place? Mourn that. Is there a broken heart, a boy who left when he promised he wouldn’t? Mourn that. Has graduation left you lonely and missing the community you used to have? Mourn that, too. Is there a miscarriage? A lost job? A life you thought you would have by now, but don’t? Mourn, mourn, mourn.

Grieve for all you hoped would be that isn’t. Let the tears you’ve fought tumble from your eyes like a sudden thunderstorm. Know that it’s okay. Grieve expectantly because there is a surefire promise to those who mourn:

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

Do the hard things so you can marvel in the sweet things. It’s not really life any other way.



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