Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…….Jesus
Last night the wind howled wildly. I was thinking of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives yesterday and praying for their families as I debated whether to go outside and take down the flag, which I could hear whipping furiously. You could smell the dust from inside the house. It was the same kind of wind that trapped those firefighters and made it an impossible situation. They were known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots. One of the news articles said of them: “There were tough as nails, but being nice was key requirement.” So today, we mourn. We miss them, even though we didn’t even know them.
Yesterday I was volunteering and I missed the sermon, but I saw that many who came out were wiping tears. Pastor Kevin has been preaching on the Beatitudes for this series. He talked of how difficult it was when he lost his best friend to suicide. How he tried to help but it wasn’t enough in the end. We don’t have to look far to find grief and sadness and loss. But, thankfully, we also don’t have to look too far to find joy, and life, and laughter. In fact, each day carries a measure of both, but one overpowers the other.
Jesus came to an earth in mourning. The Bible says, even nature is in a state of mourning:
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22
Isaiah, many centuries before Jesus birth, describes him this way: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” Isaiah 53:3
When tragedy and sadness strike, we search for answers. We search for causes as if explaining it away will make the grief easier to carry. We want to say something, anything to make them feel better. Sometimes though, things just happen, and there are no words. All we can do is hold our arms out to them. Cry with them. Mourn with them. And know that on the other side of mourning, is hope.
I won’t hold out any empty platitudes or easy answers today, but I will hold out Jesus. Lots of people have died, and lots of people have felt the weight of grief, but He is the only One who not only went through it, He had the power to conquer it for all time, for us. I can attest to the fact that the only way we can successfully pass through that dark tunnel of grief, and death is with Him by our side. I know, I’ve been there.
So today, I pray for these heartbroken families. They are in a deep valley and right now they feel they will never get out. But someday, they will wake up and not feel quite so devastated. Because that’s what we do. We go on. That’s how we honor those who have gone before. And until then, we hold out our love, with tear-stained faces that will one day be alight with joy once again.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope thatthe creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8: 18-25
Photo credit:David Kadlubowski / The Arizona Republic via AP