Finding comfort in the midst of tragedy
As I was preparing to write about the scripture In Mathew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,” I had to shift my original focus from what I intended to write. This verse is vital to understand, especially after last weekend’s mass murders. Another shooting, another city, another community grieving and learning how to pick up the pieces that we face far too often. Tragedies such as the recent mass murders can be traumatizing. Even if we are not personally affected, we can feel sorrow, sadness, and despair over these senseless tragedies. As we heard of the mass shootings over the weekend, many of us asked:
“Why does God allow such pain and suffering?”
When we ask why God allows such tragedy when if He can prevent such terrible disasters, why does He let them take place? The general tendency when these tragedies occur is to blame God for the evil and suffering in this world, but that is not true.
We first must remember that humanity was not created to sin. Adam and Eve were created sinless, but from the very beginning, God allowed man the freedom to choose right or wrong. But at that moment when Satan coerced Eve to make a choice to take a bite of the apple against God’s instructions, sin was introduced into the world.
Had man never sinned, there would be no suffering. Romans 5:12 says, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race.” It was not God’s choice; it was mans’ choice that resulted in the consequences of the broken world we live in.
Even today, we all have that choice, good or evil, right or wrong. Satan, who attacks us in our weakest moments, is fighting for us to turn to evil and wrong. We cannot make choices for others, but we can make choices for ourselves that align with God’s will.
Because of sin, Jesus reminds us that there will be suffering in our lives, but we are assured He is suffering along with us. For the most part, we can accept the idea of suffering in general, when it happens as a consequence of bad behavior but undeserved suffering like these mass shootings that cause us to question why.
It does not seem fair, but no one knows more than Jesus that this world isn’t fair, and no one loves us like Jesus. In a world of loss, we are reminded of the suffering of Christ who endured more than we can comprehend by being crucified and taking on our sin at the Cross.
Jesus was born a human, had human feelings, suffering, temptations, but He choice God’s will, not His. Because He lived as a human, He had feelings of mourning, so He understands our sorrow and weeps with us, we do not weep alone.
So pain will happen, it’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when” and how much. In this life, there is no way to avoid suffering. But there is comfort and healing through God.
Let’s get into the scripture. Most people look at this verse in Mathew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,” as speaking to sin and repentance, those that sin will mourn their sin and upon repentance are blessed. I am looking at it differently since the Bible is living and breathing and applies to whatever circumstance we may be facing. Today I am looking at this in terms of comfort in a world of tragedies.
In a recent trip to Israel at the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, I was reminded that I am blessed even during hard times in my life. Walking in the place where Jesus taught and reflecting on this scripture I was emotionally and acutely aware of how God comforted me through my seasons of grief, my times of fear, a divorced that shattered my dreams, the death of my sourmate, changing jobs and list goes on. I was able to see how God used that pain for purpose in my life to help others. I would have preferred a different path, but I am grateful to recognize now that He was there with me always even if I did not realize it at the time, and that He used my pain for good. The picture on this post was taken at the Mount of Beatitudes, and I love looking at is as a reminder of that He is with me always. If the picture seems a little off-center and not perfect, I think that is beautiful and reflects upon the fact we do live a world that is not perfect, but His presence is still there.
Mathew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,”
The scriptures itself does not say we will not grieve; instead, it tells us that Jesus is our comforter, He is with us in our season of mourning, and He understands as He came to earth a human and suffered and mourned as we do. Turning to Him surrounds us with hope and peace that only He can provide. We can celebrate God’s goodness, ask for help and comfort; leave our worries in His capable hands and meditate on His promises of hope.
It also reminds us that in these moments of mourning, that we see the world as it is, broken (good and evil). It is in these moments of intense suffering and loss, and the grief that follows gives us a glimpse of God as He is — as the crucified God who “was despised and rejected by humanity, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
The scripture always tells use we are blessed, and Jesus is telling us about the many blessings that God offers to those who believe in Him and accept what He has to offe.r . He does not say life will be secure or even that we may understand what we are going through and why, but He is asking us to trust, to allow Him to comfort us if we allow Him and to . He reminds us that there is always hope, for a future of joy.
Though we may never know the why He does, though we may not understand, He does. though we may not see what good may come out of it, He does. He does not want lives lost, but He promises He can turn pain into purpose and that some good can come out of these tragedies. I know that is controversial, but I have seen Him work miracles through suffering and use the consequences of sin for good. Remember, humanity has the freedom to choose, and if they choose evil, we suffer. But God will always work that suffering to good, we may not see it, we may not know what good resulted from the tragedy, but He does and He will.
We may not understand why God allows tragedy to strike, but we can rest in his infinite wisdom and tender mercies. One look at Jesus’ suffering on the Cross, and we know he understands our pain and when we do, we can see the blessing of those who mourn simply as a promise of future of hope.
Events like this remind us that life is short and eternity is real. What I learned is that I am blessed; I am blessed even during seasons of mourning, suffering, pain, and trouble because I know God is there to comfort me, help me through it and that He is with me and you in the midst of it all, we only need to call on Him.
For now, and for many days to come, we grieve with those who mourn. We look for the light to shine through in these tragic moments, and we put our hope and trust not in our safety or our security or in our laws, but our Jesus.
Our hearts go out to the families of those that were killed, we thank God for the courageous first responders, and we pray for the hundreds of wounded people that God extends His comfort to them and to us all.
Thank you, God, for the many times you have come to our rescue. Help us to trust you when the dark time arrives.
Love and peace,