Wednesday, February 4, 2015

God Blesses Those Who Mourn

Matthew 5:4 says "God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (New Living Translation)

Today it has been seven years since my Mom died and took her step into eternity. (I wrote about her in two posts in 2012, Life and Death and Remembering My Mom.) And today I am so thankful that God is always true to his promises - and this one in particular.

While I cannot understand it, after Mom's death I went through a very difficult time. I knew that she was ready to meet her Lord, but the loss still hurt. I do know that God touched me and comforted me just as He promised.

I had learned so much about grieving from our dear friend, Vi Washena, after her husband Bill died on January 1, 2000. The two of them were so dear to us and we took Vi under our wings, so to speak. We would talk about often about the stages of grief and I so appreciated her wisdom and openness. But it is not until you yourself go through "the dark valley of death" (NLT) that the Psalmist wrote about in Psalm 23, that you can truly appreciate God's promise.

He goes with us through the valley. Vi and I often went back to the second half of Hebrews 13:5 from the Amplified Bible (which tends to be a bit wordy, but in this case that helps to make a point), which says, "...for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]" That's a little different from the NLT, which says, "I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you."

For that, I am so thankful. God always goes with us. He never leaves us alone.

Probably the number one concern for us living in Ukraine is for our safety. We have not and will not take unnecessary risks. But for the present time, we believe that we need to be here in Ukraine, that God is here with us, and that He will let us know if and when we need to leave. Until then, we will continue to be as careful as we can and to trust God for His help and protection.

When we were travelling in America to raise support, I remember sharing in one church about Mom's death and how hard it was on me. After service, a lady came up to me while fighting back the tears. She had lost her Father and a Brother in previous 6 months or so. Her question to me was, "Does the pain really lessen?" Yes!  Yes, it does! God comforts us and takes the ache away. I do not believe that time heals as much as God provides healing over time.

Lately I have found myself missing Mom, but without the ache. A lot has changed in our lives since Mom passed away and I know that she would be pleased with those changes  I am a blessed man and have much to be grateful for. But today I am especially grateful that God comforts those who mourn. Perhaps the blessing Jesus was speaking about is comfort? For me, being comforted has been a blessing.

How about you? Are you grieving a loss of a loved one, a job, or something else? God wants to comfort you.