I received an email from a young man in England, a son who explained that his father (only sixty-three) was in the hospital in critical condition, hanging on to life. Though we’d never met, his dad’s work and mine shared many intersections. The son, trying to cheer his father, asked me to send a video message of encouragement and prayer. Deeply moved, I recorded a short message and a prayer for healing. I was told that his dad watched the video and gave a hearty thumbs-up. Sadly, a couple days later, I received another email telling me that he had died. He held his wife’s hand as he took his final breath.
My heart broke. Such love, such devastation. The family lost a husband and father far too soon. Yet it’s surprising to hear Jesus insist that it’s precisely these grieving ones who are blessed: “Blessed are those who mourn,” Jesus says (Matthew 5:4). Jesus isn’t saying suffering and sorrow are good, but rather that God’s mercy and kindness pour over those who need it most. Those overcome by grief due to death or even their own sinfulness are most in need of God’s attention and consolation—and Jesus promises us “they will be comforted” (v. 4).
God steps toward us, His loved children (v. 9). He blesses us in our tears.