“Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” It is not pleasing to the Lord that we should cover the altar with tears, even when we are oppressed with a sense of unworthiness. The mission of Christ to this world was to heal the broken-hearted. He received mourners, and comforted those who were sorrow-stricken, those who had lost courage and hope. Upon such he pronounced his blessing, and declared they should be comforted.
The Lord works through human instrumentalities, and has commissioned to his followers the duty of ministering to those who are desponding and distressed. There are hearts all around us that need to be uplifted, that need the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The Lord looks to those whom he has comforted and blessed to enlighten those who are in darkness, and to relieve those who are in sorrow. Those who have received light and peace and joy are not to pass by those who mourn, but are to come close to them in human sympathy, and help them to see a sin-pardoning Saviour, a merciful God.
Christ has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and he will give joy and gladness to those who mourn. Will you, my brother and sister who have felt the sorrows of earth, do service for Christ in helping the very ones who need your help? Will you who are strong bear the infirmities of the weak? Our Saviour was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He identified his interests with those of the weak and suffering. In looking to Jesus we look to one who comforts all who mourn in Zion. How many more might have been comforted and blessed if human messengers had performed the service which Christ had enjoined upon them to suffering humanity! “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Those who love Jesus will have the mind of Christ, and will comfort all who mourn; those who are poor, tempted, and discouraged they will help to walk in the light of the cross, and not in the shadows and in the darkness. They will point out to them the fact that the blood of Christ speaketh in their behalf “better things than that of Abel.” Christians are to minister to all that mourn, to comfort many sorrowful hearts whose memory is filled with pictures of disappointment, of forfeited friendships, and of bitter bereavements, whose history has been one of sorrow and mourning.
The Lord Jesus has given to his people the special work of comforting all that mourn. Christ is working for this class, and he calls upon human beings to become his instrumentalities in bringing light and hope to those who are mourning in the midst of apparently dark providences. Christ calls upon us to show them a bright side by our sympathy and love, and prevent the troubled soul from charging God with unfaithfulness. Our heavenly Father is never unmindful of those whom sorrow has touched. But many think that God has no care for them, as a result of the negligence of his professed followers; for these fail to act their part as colaborers with Christ in comforting those who mourn.
When David went up by the Mount Olivet, “and wept as he went up, and had his head covered,” and went barefooted, the Lord was looking pityingly upon him. He was clothed is sackcloth, and his conscience was scourging him. The outward signs of humiliation testified of his contrition and brokenness of heart. He would not consent that the ark of God should be borne before him as an emblem of the presence of God. He said to the ark bearers, “Carry back the ark of God into the city; if I shall find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation; but if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.” He was not willing that the ark should be imperiled by his vicissitudes. The precious symbol, the hallowed burden, was to be taken back to its temple. If his trouble, his expulsion from the throne, had been the work of human power, if his conscience had been clear and without reproach, he would gladly have welcomed the ark, and would have permitted the bearers to carry it before him; but because of consciousness of sin, in his repentance and contrition, he could not consent to the presence of the ark. When Shimei uttered curses upon him, he hears them in silence, and will not consent that the man shall be requited according to his course of action. David said: “So let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seekest my life; how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will require me good for his cursing this day.” David was looking to God, before whom he humbled himself, and the Lord saw his submission and did not desert his servant. The Lord wrought out a victory for David.
The furnace fire may kindle upon the servants of God, but it is for the purpose of purifying them from all dross, and not that they may be destroyed and consumed. The High and Holy One says: “If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” We honor God by trusting in him when all looks dark and forbidding. Let those who are afflicted look unto him, and talk of his power, and sing of his mercy. “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness [cleansed from all earthly defilement] as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.”
Never was David dearer to the heart of infinite love than when, conscious [conscience] smitten, he fled for his life from his enemies, who were stirred into rebellion by his own son. In tearful, heartbroken utterances, he presented his case to God, and pursued his sorrowful course; but no word of repining escaped from his lips. The Lord says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent.” There is a blessing pronounced upon all who mourn. Had there been no mourners in our world, Christ could not have revealed to man the parental character of God. Those oppressed by the conviction of sin are to know the blessedness of forgiveness, and to have their transgressions blotted out. Had there been none who mourn, the sufficiency of Christ‘s expiation for sin would not have been understood.
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, 8/8/1895
The Lord has special grace for mourners, and its power is to melt hearts, to win souls. His love opens a channel into the wounded and bruised soul and becomes a healing balsam to those who sorrow. His love is as a precious link which binds the souls of the finite to the throne of the Infinite, from whom all blessings flow to the needy and distressed; for he comforts all who mourn. The Lord Jesus is a restorer of all that was lost, and identifies his interests with those of suffering humanity. He lifts up the contrite heart, and refines the mourning soul until it becomes his abode.
“Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” To all outward appearances the cause of mourning does not seem to be a blessing. Bereavements come in manifold form, and we ask in mournful tones, Why are we thus afflicted? Jesus answers, “Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it that if may bring forth more fruit.” The Lord “doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” God has manifested his love for man in giving to the human family as their substitute and surety his beloved Son. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” a life that runs parallel with the life of Jehovah. Christ was the brightness of his Father‘s glory, and in order that he might abide with him through the ceaseless ages of eternity, he came to the world to care for our apostate race. All heaven was given to us in Christ, and the Lord is bestowing rich and free mercies upon us, making every provision, in order that we shall individually stand as his representatives, making manifest to the world the efficiency and power of the grace which God alone can bestow. In view of what the Lord would make his people, it is not strange that the moral powers are disciplined by trial and sorrow. When the spiritual powers are dwarfed and crippled, when they fasten upon temporal and inferior things, the Lord permits affliction to come, just as the pruning knife is thrust into the vine branches. The tendrils entwined about earthly things must be unclasped, and earthly supports must be removed in order that the tendrils may entwine about God, and that the branch may bring forth much fruit. Christ says, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.”
The Lord sees that we are in danger of deceiving ourselves, and that a change must be brought about in our life or spiritual death will be the consequence. The Lord has endowed men with varied capabilities and talents, and has designed that they should be sanctified to his use, but they are perverted from the Master‘s service, and employed in the service of self. The needs of the future are presented in such pressing urgency that men devote their might, mind, soul, and strength to acquiring that which must perish with the using. Their God-given talents are absorbed in that which is earthly and temporal, and the Lord draws nigh with affliction, and urges them not to drop eternity out of their reckoning. The Lord permits affliction and sorrow for the purpose of attracting minds to the only source of strength. He would have the human agents become acquainted with the great Physician, and realize what healing there is in the balm of Gilead. He would draw the mind away from earth. He would reveal himself in all human affliction as the Comforter.
Those who are comforted of God, who experience peace and rest in him, will bear rich clusters of fruit in comforting others with the consolation which they themselves have received from the compassionate Saviour. The Lord Jesus often draws souls to himself through some human agent to whom he has given a valuable experience in mourning and sorrow. He often reaches hearts by causing those who have suffered to come close to others who are passing through affliction, who can point the mourners to the bow of promise that encircles the throne of God. They can tell those who are in bereavement or in physical suffering that there is One who knows their weakness, and who will be to them hope, comfort, peace, and joy. They can encourage them to trust in God, who desires that the frail human sufferer shall lean hard upon his everlasting arms. Christ would encourage the timid disciples to look up to him. For the purpose of uplifting and encouraging others the Lord has prepared helpers for every emergency. Let every one in the Lord‘s service be ready to see the needs of others, and to draw from their experience that which will be a blessing to those that mourn. Let them shed forth the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
When the ways of the Lord are understood, his providences will not obscure our faith, even though they be full of suffering and sorrow. They will purify the heart, refine and elevate the character, ennoble the thoughts and practices, so that much fruit shall be borne to the glory of God. Satan has cast his hellish shadow of corruption and iniquity, and has covered the earth with darkness as with a funeral pall, but the Sun of Righteousness still shines, and God would have every afflicted soul look to the brightness of Calvary’s cross. Faith, hope, and courage may be drawn from the Source of all light and truth.
Let every mourner look up and be comforted. Every service rendered to the Master in helping others, is blessing yourself, and the benediction that is spoken to those that mourn, will result in your own comforting. You will discern the invisible, and know the reality there is in Christian experience. Let there be rejoicing amid affliction until even amid the shadows that have thickened about you, you may have a truly grateful spirit. Christ himself will brighten your gloom with bright gleams of light, and his divine light will be all the more precious and glorious as it shines forth amid clouds and darkness. “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.”
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, 8/15/1895