“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
This past week many of us have felt some combination of shock, sadness, and anxiety. Suddenly, many of us are homeschooling moms with hordes of toilet paper and very little social life. Like Alice in Wonderland falling down a rabbit hole, our lives keep getting weirder and weirder. Apart from hand-washing and social distancing, we really have no control over the warping and changing of the world around us.
The global pandemic has given us reason to mourn. With the tragic loss of life and a tanking economy, many people are hurting. But God hasn’t left us without hope. Christianity has categories to help us process this grief and move forward. Even as we are reeling from the consequences of the pandemic in our own lives, we can encourage one another to mourn with hope and find comfort in God’s promises.
Take Time to Mourn
When Jesus said “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted,” He never promised us an easy life. In fact, He states plainly that we will mourn.
Because we live in the fallen world, we will experience grief and loss. In these last few weeks, many people have lost their primary income and are grieving their loss of financial stability. Others are grieving the loss of loved ones. Everyone is grieving the loss of community and normalcy, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
As women’s ministry leaders and pastors' wives, we are surrounded by hurting people. And in this unique moment, we have an opportunity to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). There is no need to hurry people through their grieving. Just like Israel sung psalms of lamentation corporately, we also need opportunities to lament in our church communities. Now is the time for sympathetic ears, spiritual hugs, and intercessory prayer.
Know You Are Blessed
But even as we mourn, Jesus reminds us that we’re blessed. Lament is not the end of our story. In Christ, we have a healthy relationship with God and a spiritual inheritance waiting for us. Our lives—no matter how bleak they seem at present—are secure in Him.
A few summers ago, my family visited a lake with a floating Wibit (inflatable playground). It was an enlightening experience to say the least. I learned that my physical fitness and agility had significantly diminished since childhood. I awkwardly tripped and slid as screaming kids double-bounced me into the water. Completely unable to pull myself back up onto the bouncing madhouse, I felt a sinking helplessness—until my husband’s strong hand pulled me back up.
Pandemics are scary. They can make us feel like a middle-aged, out-of-shape mom being tossed around on a Wibit. But Christ is the solid hand holding on to us and lifting us up. He is “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:19). He is the only solid thing in a warping and changing world.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 don’t make sense to the world. How can a mourner be blessed? And yet, Jesus affirms that both are true for the believer. Even as we mourn the loss around us, we are united to Christ and enveloped in “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3).
Mourn with Hope
Jesus promised that those who mourn will be comforted. Our laments only make sense if we view them in light of eternity. We don’t grieve “as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). Christians lament with hope, which may seem like a contradiction. But we do feel both grief and hope at the same time. We grieve loss today, but Christ is coming again. His return gives us hope because He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Death, mourning, and pain will be no more (Rev. 21:4).
The current world health crisis has brought many challenges into our lives. But as we mourn our losses, let’s be conscious of our spiritual riches in Christ. This trial is an opportunity to loosen our grasp on the things that give us false security. Unless Christ returns soon, we will all die physically, and we can’t take our money where we’re going. But Christ’s strong hand gives us eternal security. Perhaps as we encourage each other to cling to Christ, we will find lasting security and hope amidst the surrounding chaos.