“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Grief, for those who trust Jesus, is an interesting thing. I think grief is a journey regardless of who takes it, a painful and wearying journey that terrifyingly puts you face to face with your own vulnerability but can bring so much healing if done well. But how can you go about grieving well?
In the midst of my own grieving, I don’t have an answer to that. I just know I have gone up and down between feeling like I am “grieving well” and feeling like I am falling apart, which brings me back to my first statement that grief, for a Christ-follower, has a dimension I am still learning to understand.
In my moments of “falling apart,” I have felt guilt. Self-imposed, isolated, not encouraged by anyone else–a private guilt and need to put away my grief for a “Christian” outer adornment of self-made serenity and happiness, a poor replication of true peace and joy. And lately I’ve begun to wonder why.
And that’s when I realized that grief, for a Jesus-follower, puts you directly in the midst of a holy tension–the unwavering and profound hope of eternity and the overwhelming loss of earthly separation from those you love.
It was the promise of unwavering hope at war with my human nature, and my human nature’s response was guilt that I should mourn when I have eternal hope. And then I stumbled across this beautiful passage.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”
I wondered today that if I saw my mom in the presence of Jesus, blissful in the fulfillment and joy of everything that she lived for on earth, would I still desire so much to have her here with me?
I pictured myself standing before her, her brown eyes alight with the radiance of having seen the face of God, her smile and laughter unequaled to any that I saw on earth, and I imagined myself trying to convince her to come back with me for a time.
I realized then that I could never do that.
It is by His grace that we have this eternal hope that lifts our souls, instills in our hearts a stalwart peace, and fills us with incomparable joy–to know His eternal life and promise to us has made the grave not a place of death and finality but a passage into life in all it was made to be in His presence.
And yet still, I mourn.
This life is filled with such blessing and opportunity, that God would gift us with the capacity for relationship, to love and be loved and form bonds of intimacy that provide safety, comfort, and joy. Marriage, family, friendship–all meant to provide reflections of His own love for us.
For me, the love of a mother for her daughter showed me a glimpse of the face of God, and for that, I am forever grateful.
And for this, I mourn. I mourn the loss of my mother’s sweet presence with me for the rest of my time on earth, and I will feel no guilt for it. My mourning her loss reveals to me that her life was a precious blessing and to have to say goodbye brings the utmost heartache.
But neither will I despair, for I know where she is and what awaits me is enough to fill me with true peace and joy.
And so I know that for the rest of my days, I will walk in this holy tension, mourning the loss I experience in this shadow world, but comforted by the persistent flame of His eternal hope.