I was only a child but I found the courage to kneel at the Mercy Seat. Every Salvation Army building has one. It is basically a bench at the front where people kneel to pray, to confess and to receive their salvation. Tears fell easily in that moment as I realised that even in such a small amount of years I had offended God. I had hurt the one who loves me. I was Peter who looked at Jesus and wept. Someone knelt down next to me and prayed a prayer with me. I returned to where I had been sitting tears still falling. I don’t know who the lady was and no doubt she had good intentions but after the meeting she came to me and said, “Why are you still crying? You should be happy now.” The process of mourning was disrupted by a woman wanting me to be happy.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5 v 4)
Do you remember your own tears of salvation story?
Do you remember those church services where after a call to come to Jesus people lined up at the front in tears because their heart of stone was being turned into a new heart and their spirit was being reborn by the Spirit of God?
My prayer is that there is going to be a renewed, fresh, loving conviction falling on the ministry of the Church in all that we do, whether inside or outside our buildings. Can you hope for this too?
But there’s more to this statement of Jesus. Here is the help from the beautiful paraphrase from the Message: “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
I would think that I have known more grief in the last 10 years than at any other time in my life.
Through my work I have seen a broken world more than ever. To sit with the suffering is to sit in tears.
But then to experience the personal loss of loved ones has been a pain of deep pain, anger and depression. What have I learnt?
I have become acquainted with a world broken by sin, death, injustice and wickedness.
I am understanding the impact that this brokenness has on God and the need for change and transformation.
I have discovered the most important thing: God is present in the place of mourning. He is familiar with suffering. He is longing for the day to wipe away every tear (Rev 7:17) and so our mourning has hope, death is not in vain (1 Thess 4:13)
Happiness comes through grief. For leading you into mourning, through it and out of it is the God of all comfort (2 Cor 1:3)
He is there and where He is we are happy.