Blessed: a study of the beatitudes: Blessed are those who mourn.
The Sermon on the Mount, the longest sermon recorded in the gospels, presents Jesus as our ultimate God authorized instructor for living. He guides the follower to actually do what the Word of God says. In doing so, “happiness” will follow. The “happiness” Jesus speaks of is one of the right relationships with God. The values Jesus will discuss (The Beatitudes) present a complete “Upside Down” way of approaching life. It’s a life that steers counterculture, but a life that is abundantly worth it.
Bottom line: How do I experience God’s comfort as I mourn?
Something to talk about:
For the Christian, there is no way around mourning. Each one of us has a story. Divorce, abuse, job loss, a broken relationship, cancer, infertility, a terminal diagnosis. Everyone experiences natural sorrow. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is a time to weep and a time to laugh. In this sermon, we talk about how to handle the inevitable losses in your life and describe how God blesses the brokenhearted.
- Look at your loss with God: In times of grief, search for something to grab hold of during that time, or search for words to say to someone else who is grieving. We usually have more questions than answers in those times when the emptiness feels overwhelming and when anger and doubt are getting a foothold in our hearts. The questions come down to, “where is God in all this” and secondly, “can I trust God with this?” Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” The Good News: Even if you feel alone, God is with you always. In the moments you may not think he’s near, he’s still watching over you. God comforts us in our darkest times so that we are able to have the strength to give others help and strength during their worst times. We look to God as an example of how to provide comfort and love during times of sorrow.
- Look at your comfort in God: Have you ever prayed something like, “God, I need Your comfort. Please take away this pain?” Most people have but find comfort in God, despite the pain. How do you respond when you experience great pain, failure, or struggle? We ask God for His comfort now and His peace and relief from pain later. God’s comfort represents a barrier between pain and us. In 1 Peter 2:21-25, we see a Savior who humbly accepted pain despite doing nothing to earn it. Jesus does not avoid pain; He comes into our world and makes our pain His pain. He didn’t say we’d never experience pain, but He did say He’d never leave us. Hope can seem pretty distant right now, and that is okay. No matter where you are right now, you are loved by a God that is bigger than your grief. He wants to love and care for you during this time, and through Him, you can find peace. God will comfort us in all our troubles – and that certainly includes our grief.
- Look ahead to your happiness in God: When we talk about promises, more often or not God’s promises for the future are likely the category that comes to mind most readily—the ones that look ahead at better things to come. For example Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” All of the grief and woes of this world will be gone forever. Revelation 21: 3 says, “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.” God will dwell with us. No more will God seem distant—not that He ever was, but we will see Him and know it with certainty. His home will be with us and we will be His people. What a promise this verse holds. What a portrait of perfect happiness. What a hope to cling to in the midst of anything we face now. If you are a Christian, grab hold of this promise, knowing that even if your grip is weak, God has a hold of you when you grieve. When we think of promises, that is.
- Why do you think God allows us to experience grief and loss?
- How have you grown in your times of grief?
- What are some messages our culture has taught us about how to handle a loss or how to expect others to get over a loss that keeps us from mourning in a healthy way? What are some healthy ways we can comfort and support each other?
- Share a time when you were comforted by someone. How has a church family helped you through a difficult time in your life?
- Read Revelation 21:4.What comes to mind when you read these words?
- Read 2 Corinthians 1:4. Do you consistently allow God to use you in others’ lives?
- Realize God never promised to insulate you from pain, but He did promise to enter your pain with you. He is your strength, your ever-present comfort. Thoughts?
- Jesus knew that He was taking on pain to bring us freedom. So when you experience pain, it’s okay to ask, “God is there anything I can learn or accomplish as a result of this pain?”
- When we have a time of loss, difficulty, or grief, focusing on eternal glory can help us find purpose in our pain. What does eternal glory mean to you? Share and discuss it with your group.
- What part of the message resonated with you? What would you do differently this week as a result of this week’s sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
Mary Magdalene was one of the few present at the crucifixion. When the disciples fled, she stayed by the cross. She then went with the body to the tomb for burial. She, grieving over the man who had become everything to her, who had been arrested, tortured, and crucified. When she went out again to His tomb on that first Easter morning, the unthinkable had happened. She found things had actually gotten worse. The body was now gone. She must have surmised it was the work of a grave robber or someone who wanted to desecrate the body. So why didn’t she see Jesus? Maybe her eyes were so swollen and filled with tears that she couldn’t see Jesus in the midst of her depression, grief, and sadness. That is not so unusual. Navigating through disappointment, betrayal, loss, death, sin, failure and trials involves heartache. It’s scary and messy. It requires us to feel our way through the sense of loss produced by suffering. In this process, God can seem distant. Your grief forms a blind spot. When Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33), He says we will endure suffering, yet our hope is not in what we experience on earth. Our hope is found in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ alone.