Blessed are Those Who Mourn
I winced as my dad cut a slight opening in my skin. The little splinter in my thumb didn’t seem like much, but it was deep in my skin and there was no other way to get it out
My dad moved the knife so gently and acted so calm that I soon found I had no reason to be afraid. I relaxed, watching as he carefully pried the splinter out with the tweezers. I trusted him. The thought of the pain was gone as he washed and dried my thumb, afterward applying the ointment and bandage. I felt a strange sense of peace. Maybe because he seemed totally at peace as well.
My dad had a deep concern for me that makes me think of Jesus, the One who had such a concern for our souls to live forever that He left his own desire to avoid suffering in the dust. Though He passionately loves us, Jesus doesn’t force His truth on us, just as my dad didn’t quickly and carelessly cut open my skin. God rules over the Universe, and yet He is gentle, so gentle and compassionate toward us, so that we may grow to trust in Him.
But He doesn’t just care for us for a moment, wiping away our transgressions and then leaving us to fend for ourselves. He cares for us through our pain, loving us and pointing us to the truth in a gentle way so it doesn’t hurt so much.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
1 Corinthians 1:3-5
A few weeks ago I was struck like a lightening bolt with the idea that showing God’s tender mercy toward people is how we should comfort those who are hurting. My editor for my book informed me that I couldn’t make a mother who loses her child happy after a few hours just by saying God is in control. People need time to grieve; they need time to sort through their mess with the help of God; they time to choose to make their own personal fight to persevere despite the pain. My editor gave me these verses to explain the process grieving believers go through:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
So when a believer is slammed in the face with tragedy, after their initial shock and despair they start trying to persevere, to keep holding onto the truth. As they do so, God refines their character into something beautiful, until finally they find the overwhelming hope to move on with their lives. My book character who had lost a child immediately leaped from her pain to hope, because of her friend who told her God was in control. That just isn’t realistic. When faced with immense heartbreak, humans don’t need logical, straightforward truth; we need love and tenderness. We do need truth, but we need it spoken graciously and with few words, so as not to burden the already hurting person. God is a mighty Creator and Ruler, yet He is also deeply concerned about our pain, and He loves it when we pour our heart out to Him and admit we need Him to comfort us.
“…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
Whether a hurting person is going through physical, emotional, or spiritual trauma, I’m learning that we need to truly be like Christ when we comfort them. Rather than trying to find a quick-fix for the problem, be there for them, loving them and taking the time to truly listen and care for them. Cry with them. Tell them the truth but don’t preach to them. Slide the truth in like a knife, so gently it doesn’t even hurt them, but when they accept their need for Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes out the splinter, the source of their pain. Your friend’s injured thumb doesn’t heal all at once, but they realize now that God is with them in the midst their suffering, genuinely caring for them and patiently guiding them to Himself the whole way through.
Thanks to my thoughtful editor, now the grieving mother doesn’t become happy within a few hours, and the comforter in my book doesn’t preach to her to try to ease her pain. Instead, the mother weeps for long hours, and the comforter simply reminds her of God’s presence and embraces her, saying: “I am so sorry.”
Grace Caylor is a girl who loves to write and wants to glorify God through her writing. She hopes to bless you through her writing so you can experience God’s abundant grace and live for Him. Read more at her blog!