"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4...."He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:4
Do we go through this life as mourners or moaners? Here's the reality. Jesus said that in this world we will have tribulation. Sometimes, that can seem to be all that we have. Mark Batterson said that sometimes are lives seem to be nothing but a series of shipwrecks, one after another. Suffering, in some form, comes upon everyone. How we respond to it, how we live out our faith in it, determines whether we live lives of victory or defeat. Hope and assurance, or despair and resignation. In the midst of trouble, heartache and mourning, is our focus on how quickly we can convince the Lord to get us out of it and back into our deserved happiness, or, do we seek to have Him lead us deeper into His Life in order that we may glorify Him in the darkness and pain? Do we find ourselves among the "moaners," or with the blessed mourners?
Our flesh finds nothing in sorrow and suffering that could possibly produce blessing. Our flesh demands relief, usually accompanied by a great deal of complaining along the way. We "moan" about our lot, not only to everyone around us, but to the Father as well. "Where are You? Why aren't You doing anything? Why did You allow this?" We ask these questions over and over. Rarely, if ever, does He answer. We reject the mourning, we embrace the moaning. As a friend put it, the latter comes very naturally to us. The Father calls us to the former. It is the road less taken. It's the pathway of Christ and His cross.
Paul was a man intimately acquainted not only with His Lord, but with His sufferings as well. Yet what Paul found in the midst of them was a joy, peace, and comfort that can only be found in a surrender to Him in the midst of it all. A surrender that will yield a joy, peace, and comfort that the moaning flesh can never know. Will never know. Do we know it? Paul, in his lonely prison cell, experienced a comfort from Him that yielded a joy and peace that were beyond his ability to describe. And because of it, he was able to offer His comfort, not human sympathy, to others walking through their own paths of sorrow.
A friend related how he had heard of a conversation had with a group of believers who had just come out of intense persecution for their faith. Persecution that brought with it, great suffering. He said these ones related that they would never choose to walk through that path again, but also, that they would never forget the joy and intimacy they had with Christ through all that time,and that though they had now been delivered of it, they deeply missed the comfort and presence they had known in that time. They still had His fullness, but they had never known before the life He gives in the midst of suffering if we will but yield to Him in it.
I once understood Isaiah 35:1 in a much different way. "The wilderness and desert shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and bloom as the rose." I have always looked at that promise as His telling me He would bring an end to the desert, and replace all that may have been lost with even better things. That can often be a part of it all, but I've come to understand and see it in a different way. I don't think He necessarily promises that He will end the desert or bring us out of it, at least not right away. I believe what He promises is that He will make us to bloom and blossom, to bear fruit, even in the midst of the deepest and darkest desert. To know His blessing in the desert. To experience His blessing in our mourning.....This is His spiritual horizon for all those who mourn. Life, joy, peace, and comfort. The enemies spiritual horizon for those who moan is hopelessness, despair, anger, frustration, which are all part of the death he seeks to bring us in every place. Which horizon are we walking to? Do we live as mourners......or moaners?