In our Sunday school class yesterday, we talked about this verse. I was a little unhappy about the timing of that particular verse since the whole class was grieving the loss of my friend Tom (you can read about him here if you'd like) in one way or another. But since I was teaching and we had just begun the sermon on the mount, I didn't have a choice. I miraculously held it together as we came up with some really cool concepts, amidst a few tears, that I want to share with you:
1) Jesus didn't say, "Blessed are they who have bad things happen to them that cause them to mourn, for they shall be comforted. He said "Blessed are they that mourn." Bad things will happen. That is life.
2) We are fortunate at blessed if we can mourn -- if we are emotionally healthy enough to be able to share our pain and our grief with others. When we do that we will be comforted.
3) We are blessed if we have relationships that cause us to mourn when they are over. Many people live lives void of the kind of friendships, marriages, or family relationships that lead to heart wrenching grief when they are over. So I think Jesus was reminding people to be grateful that the relationships were there in the first place.
4) There is a purpose in our mourning, another reason that we are blessed. We are comforted by God when we mourn so that we can comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort ourselves receive from God.
We have a privilege and a responsibility of taking what we learn from being comforted by God into the lives of others when they are mourning.
I put this quote on my Facebook yesterday... it is from this article if you would like to read it. I found it incredibly profound and I ended Sunday School with it.
Engaging in the full range of experience -- living and dying, love and loss -- is what we get to do. Being human doesn't happen despite suffering. It happens within it. When we approach suffering together, when we choose not to hide from it, our lives don't diminish, they expand."