Pastor Tom’s Note:
Comfort for those who Mourn
Who can forget Elton John’s rendition of “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s funeral? The world has seen many times of mournings before and after this tragic event 20 years ago. In fact, the stark reality of life is that we are in perpetual mourning, either experienced in the distant past, the most recent present, or somewhere in between. Death has affected all of us. And if we ever forget the raw pain, all it takes is a song (like Elton John’s), a memory to bring back the sting of death to crush our hearts. We are in mourning all over again. One Day Jesus will change all that. Through His death and resurrection, when Jesus returns to finish His mission and finally destroy death (and sin, and the devil), He will put an end to the pain and suffering. Those who have believed in Him will be with Him forever. “Comfort one another with these words,” Paul tells us (1 Thess. 4:18).
In Isaiah’s vision of “the new heavens and new earth” (Isa 65:17), in the same breath, he says the End is a “day of vengeance” (= impartial judgement against all evil) and a time of “comfort [for] those who mourn” (Isa 61:2). God will bring our perpetual mourning to an end. We will exchange a “faint spirit” for “garments of praise” (Isaiah 61:3).The imagery of a “faint” spirit is one of a dim light, a flickering candle in the wind that’s about to go out. In the depth of our grief and despair when we lose loved ones, the Spirit of Jesus, called the Comforter (John 14:26) dwells in our hearts. He comes alongside as a close friend, a helper to sustain us. Our flickering light will not go out.
Our true hope is in the One who alone has defeated death. So as we put our faith in Him, we mourn and grieve but not as those without hope. Put your trust in Jesus who says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Mourning doesn’t have to be the trauma caused by death, but maybe a persistent ailment, a broken relationship, unemployment, even unanswered prayer. Whatever it is, this is the promise God makes. As we reach out to our Father in Heaven, “the God of all comforts” (2 Cor 1:3), He is certain to bring comfort to us. He will do it through the “Comforter,” the Spirit of His Son Jesus Christ, who comes to dwell in the hearts of those who believe in Him.
Do you need to be a comforter to someone who is mourning? We all need messengers of comfort in our lives. Perhaps you know someone in desperate need of God’s comfort this week. Just as God wants to reach out to us, maybe we need to reach out and comfort someone in their mourning as well.