‘I know, dear’

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

DSC_0258My wife used to receive comfort regularly from her mother before she passed away a few years ago. That comfort consisted of a weekly phone call, and whenever Marti would share something difficult she was going through, Grandma Vi — as she came to be known by our children — would listen patiently and make her all-inclusive understanding comment, “I know, dear,” except that in her thick Maine accent, it always came out, “I know, dee-ah.”

As simple as it seems, it was comfort, still, and mysteriously touched Marti at a deep level, where just sharing her difficulty and having Grandma Vi understand what she was going through was all she needed to go on. She always finished these conversations with a lighter heart, and all Grandma Vi ever did was listen and say those magically reassuring words, “I know, dee-ah.”

Jesus is in the business of comforting those who mourn and even states that they are in a favored state. They are lucky; they are blessed; and because of that, they are comforted in their mourning.

Since when is sorrow a blessing? Since Jesus proclaimed it so. Well, if that’s the case, how come more of us are not experiencing that comfort? I would suggest that it might be because we are not really mourning.

We live in an escapist culture with so much to distract us. When we are hurting, we can always turn up the noise on the world around us, or we can try any number of “cures” our modern culture promises us, or we can blame or project the problem on someone else.

Marti and I have gone through a number of miscarriages, only one of which we actually grieved over, and that was because the doctor gave us permission to grieve. It was our assignment: we were to go home and grieve. It was amazing how much difference that made, having a professional giving us not only permission, but an assignment to mourn. And what a difference it made when we really did mourn, in sensing the Lord’s comfort like never before.

It’s only when we truly mourn that we can be comforted. There is no comfort in explaining away our sorrow. There is comfort in being sorrowful and throwing ourselves on the Lord.

So consider this Catch an assignment to mourn. Bring your sorrow to the Lord and let Him be there with you. He wants to comfort you Himself, for that is what this comfort is. It’s not some abstract emotion, or a warm, fuzzy blanket, it is purely and simply God Himself touching you, and letting you know in the midst of that which makes you mourn, as clearly as Marti used to hear it from Grandma Vi, “I know, dee-ah.” And somehow, that is enough.

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