“Blessed [are] those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
We mourn because we have seen the destination, and caught a glimpse of what God has purposed in His heart to birth in us and on the earth. The gap between the present reality and the future hope than pierces something deep within us that hurts greatly.
For the ones who had conformed to this world, the renewing of the mind leads to both agreement and a painful awareness of the extent to which we have fallen short of His vision for our lives. There is a corresponding awareness of the extent to which our spiritual family and city have fallen short – and a greater ache to the one who stumbles into this realization. In hearing the word of God, conviction has gripped our hearts, formerly dead to such cares, and the pain is palpable. To see the fullness of what we can have and who we could be does more than stir us with a firm resolution to obey – mourning awakens something far more powerful in agreement with God. It awakens a disgust to turn from the inferior things that hinder us from walking in the fullness of God, and stirs a related longing for the superior things. What a gift!
It is one thing to know what is wrong, and it is another to recognize and believe in the right way to go. It is another reality altogether to feel the first stirrings of pain and conviction that are the opening salvos of God’s grace to declare war against sin and lay hold of righteousness expressed in our lives. It is mourning – feeling – that leads to the eventual transformation of our desires and deep agreement with God that Jesus called “hungering and thirsting for righteousness”. These early stages of mourning and repentance are invaluable in our journey to that place of internal transformation. How many of us become aware of our spiritual barrenness and are content to feel nothing? How many are “comfortably numb” when confronted by injustice, unrighteousness, wickedness, and sin pervading their lives, their homes, their cities. How many are content to make peace with the socially acceptable sins and compromises that constitute “normal life” – a life of lesser than and just short of?
The one who mourns refuses to be denied – and won’t be comforted by anything less. She won’t be comforted by anything inferior. They will not settle or be satisfied by the pat on the back, the little promotion, and the temporary and inferior comforts of this world that would fool others into thinking that they are “okay” or “good enough”. Many surrender in the weariness and stop knocking on the door of God’s heart. The one who truly mourns by grace can never stop knocking and they can never stop pursuing the things of God. They will mourn the rest of their lives until the desire of God’s heart is fully expressed on the earth, as it is in heaven.
Why in the world would someone voluntarily sign up for this pain – for the rest of his or her natural lives?
The answer is simple. They’re homesick, and they won’t settle down in a foreign land and pretend that they’re happy there. Until they get to go home, they’ll never be fully or truly at rest.