The Bare Soul - September 6, 2009
The Beatitudes - Mourning

Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Profound loss often produces profound mourning. Many of us have lost someone or something (such as a beloved pet) that has created a vacuum in our lives -- an absence so remarkable that it causes the very breath within us to be labored due to despair. When my father passed several years ago due to cancer, it left a hole in my life for some time. We had become much closer in my grown-up years after a turbulent relationship in my teens and young adult life. The familiarity we shared in those final years was something rekindled from my love for him as a child. We would look forward to our long distance calls, and the times when we could be together in person. Likewise, some of us may have experienced a trusting, loving relationship with their Heavenly Father earlier in life, only to have been seduced by the things of this earth. The wooing of fleshly carnality day after day became a sordid seductress that took more and more of our hearts. Finally, Christ was relegated to a proverbial "tool shed out back" on His once-owned expansive property of our heart. As the prior Lord of our lives, Jesus had become a silenced voice of wisdom. Now, all that could be heard was the soft weeping for His lost child.

Some have interpreted this scripture in Matthew to imply that we should mourn over our sin. While this is true in one respect, it is not if we are mourning the passing of sin as the loss of something that one holds dear to their heart. This would be unscriptural because John tells us in his first letter to love not the world nor the things in it (I John 2:15). For us to mourn over sin as merely the loss of a "dear friend", whom we once gave our heart to in love, would be a direct affront to Jesus as our betrothed. Naturally speaking, no man or woman should put up with an engaged partner longing for a past girlfriend or boyfriend. In the same wise, we should have our eyes fixed on the Lover of our souls, knowing how we have grieved Him who pursued us with a passionate longing. We should certainly mourn our past sinful lives, but even more so we should mourn the absence of our awaited Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. When questioned why His disciples did not fast, Jesus answered thus: And Jesus said to them, "The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." (Matthew 9:15). Beloved, Jesus knew that the days would come when He would no longer be there to comfort them with His words. He knew that the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Comforter, would soon after His departure take up residence in the hearts of men, women, and children that would simply trust in Christ for their salvation. While we live a "fasted life" upon this earth, seeking to separate ourselves from carnal earthly pleasures, the Holy Spirit comforts us within. He confirms to us through our denial of self and hatred of sin that our marriage to Christ is an inevitable fact that will consummate at the end of the age. We must merely ready ourselves as the bride, adorning ourselves with holiness ... and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

While those who truly know the Lord are grieved at His absence as King of King and Lord or Lords upon this earth, we take heart in the loving consolation of the Holy Spirit in this time of absence. The book of John, chapters 14 through 16, are Christ's candid attempts to explain to His disciples that it is imperative that He must leave this earth for a season. Until His return, He promises a down payment of our riches in glory through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:7 Christ states: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you (King James Version). A few verses later, Jesus tells them in John 16:20:  Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. Clearly, Jesus was speaking of his resurrection in this scripture, telling His disciples that they will mourn desperately for the seeming hopelessness of His death. However, most gloriously, their mourning would be turned into joy once they realized that He had risen. They truly comprehended after conquering the grave that their Risen Savior would indeed return a second time to redeem those who waited for Him with an expectancy of a longing bride. No longer was there mourning attached to hopelessness, but there was a faith and assurance that Jesus would return as He promised. Every soul that has mourned and longed for His return -- from his first century disciples to present day believers -- have joined themselves to the Holy Spirit and the Bride of Christ by declaring: The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." ... He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelations 22:17a; 22:20).

While it's a given that sin should be mourned over in our lives, this should only be demonstrative when a sinner comes to Christ and repents. Under no circumstances should sin be mourned as something we "miss" in our respective lives. If this is the case, beloved, there is something desperately wrong with our supposed relationship to Jesus Christ. If He is not the One we long to be with and know more personally every day, then there will be something else we desire in His place. Mourning for Jesus is a blessed state, according to the scripture. For only as we long and mourn for His appearing, will we know the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Are you longing for Him today? Have you set your affections on His appearing and not the re-appearing of a former lover? His longing is that we would long for Him with a holy passion borne from His Spirit that desires to dwell richly in us all. Only then will be waiting in chaste expectancy, comforted by the Spirit who is able to perfect us until that final day. Praise be to His Name!

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessing that Your Son bestowed on all those who would but mourn and long for His appearing. We thank you that You sent Your Spirit to comfort and perfect us until that final day. Help us by Your grace to make us chaste and pure, a holy bride for your beloved Son. The Spirit and the bride say, "Come". In Jesus Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

 

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