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We all need comfort DAY 19

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

It was Wednesday 30 August 2000 and I was standing over the lifeless body of one of my best friends. Richard (Pollie) Oosterhagen was flung from his vehicle more than forty meters, ending up next to a cornfield on a dirt road just outside the Freestate town of Henneman. No one really knows what happened, since he was driving alone, on his way to pick up team members of our arts ministry that was ministering in town. As we drove to the hospital to confirm the inevitable I whispered a prayer in a moment of deep despair. He was only twenty-one years old. How could this be?

I stepped away from that scene and started journaling, writing down all my emotions, my anger and my doubts. I wrote down all the detail of what happened, how it all smelled and what I could recall. And I invited God into the pain. For almost a year I took out that little journal every three months, weeping as I relived the ordeal. I mourned. And mourned. But every time I cried a little less, allowing to go into the pain and taking the hand of the Healer as He walked me through it.

Pain is inevitable. It is actually a sign of life. Put your hand on a hot stove and you’ll understand what I mean. Those who’ve lost all feeling in their hands will not even know they are hurting and will suffer even more pain. Famous author C.S Lewis said “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.”

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

When Jesus is saying this it seems like an oxymoron. How can mourning make me happy? How can I be blessed in the midst of mourning? Well the answer probably lies in the promise later in the verse. "They will be comforted". As I had to work through the pain of losing my friend and many similar losses through out my life, one thing I can testify of – God was always there to comfort me. Paul, a man of great suffering at the hands of persecutors once wrote,

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I can’t tell you how much comfort I have found in these two verses through the years. This same Father who gave his only Son, knows about loss. And He is called the God of all comfort. Not just a little. All. He is also named the Father of compassion. The word compassion comes from two words, with and suffer. God the Father suffers with us. He knows how it feels, He isn’t distant and aloof or exempt from our pain. No, as we just celebrated over Easter – He knows pain. He himself was called a Man of sorrows, bearing the cross for our sin.

As we are all coming to grips with some sort of loss in this time, let us run to the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort and seek our refuge and comfort in Him. He promises that all who mourn, will be comforted. He is waiting.

Stay safe and stand strong.

Retief Burger

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