Blessed are those who mourn – For they will be comforted Mt 5:4
When Jesus Christ witnessed suffering, He was moved by it. He cared enough to come alongside suffering and bear its burden. He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases (Mt 8:17). Love is capable of comforting others.
The Lord poured himself out like a cup for us; for the weak, oppressed, harassed and helpless. He mourned with those who mourn. The Lord wept (Jn 11:35).
A compassionate heart shows empathy. It can cry. It can mourn. A callous heart cannot. Its tears are pent up; like a dam unwilling to burst–walled by self righteous pride or locked away sentenced to bitter resentment. Both negate the flow of real cleansing.
The direct imperative from Jesus is to mourn with those who mourn. Our tear ducts are the consequence of design, born of necessity. Their purpose is not only to keep the lenses of the eye lubricated. Grief is not an afterthought God purposed by chance.
Tears cleanse the soul of pain. Men (or women) need to cry. When King David sinned against God with Bathsheba, he cried a river. When King Hezekiah found God’s law and realised how far from God his people were, he tore his clothes and wept like a child. Paul’s letters to those he loved were stained with the constant drip of heartfelt mourning. Peter lamented when he denied the Lord. People who care – cry.
Recently, I visited a patient paralysed and abandoned to the State’s care. Her toes had all but turned gangrene due to a lack of circulation. Six months prior, I had spent every day massaging a younger patient’s feet, one similarly paralysed, turning the feet and kneading them to promote circulation. Here, in another town, in another place, were the consequences of neglecting such nursing practice.
That night I prayed and wept deeply for this poor soul. During the visit, I had held their hands and pleaded with God to place some of their pain in me, that it may take some of their torment away. As I prayed such (silently unbeknownst to any), the patient peered into my eyes. Their hands squeezed my own. Love formed a connection.
Mourning with those who mourn.
That evening, after nearly an hour of prayer, tears streamed down my face; the pain was released to God, rather than harboured within. We see the results of containing such pain everywhere. More often than not, it eventually destroys those who carry it. It is a heavy burden to mourn without comfort.
Oh what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.