Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Last year, I took a group of students on a camping/worship weekend. After spending 4 days camping in Dickson, Tennessee, I had to pack up and drive 8 hours for another event I had committed to.
I buckled up, took a deep breath, and hit the road.
I was on the road for a steady 5 minutes before we pulled up to a light and waited to turn on the interstate.
On the other side of the road, there was a woman with groceries walking across the road.
All of the sudden, a car going far too fast ran past their line and into the pedestrian crossing. They hit the woman.
For a moment, it felt like time froze. A woman was laying on the ground, the driver of the car was figuring out what he should do, and we were watching from a distance.
Then, the light turned green and the car that hit the woman drove off.
Yep, you read that correctly.
My friend Molly Kate - who is one of the best human beings in the entire world - happened to be riding in my passenger seat. Molly said, "Pull over into this gas station parking lot!"
It was the first time I had ever heard Molly order someone to do anything, so I figured I better do what she said.
I pulled over and we watched the woman get up.
She was ferociously shaking as she walked from the road and into the gas station parking lot.
I will never forget the scene I saw next.
Molly Kate gently walked up to this woman who was in serious shock and pain and simply asked, "Can I hug you?" The woman collapsed into Molly's arms and I began to try to hide my tears.
Another way to translate this week’s beatitude is, “Blessed are those who mourn, for God will come to their side.”
In that moment, I saw the face of the God of all comfort through His daughter, Molly Kate. The woman had the right-of-way. She was doing nothing wrong. She shouldn’t have been hit.
In my limited experience, I have seen a lot of situations in which people have the right-of-way and been knocked down and left behind by life circumstances.
When this happens, there is nothing to do but mourn.
The beautiful thing is that God himself is gently moving toward us in our mourning. He comes to our side and he asks, “Can I hug you?”
The woman who fell in to Molly’s arms just cried and cried. She thanked Molly for being there. Soon, Molly was crying with her.
I think it’s kind of like that with God. He hugs us, comforts us, and even mourns WITH us.
It turns out that the woman was ok. She allowed us to pray for her, comfort her, and speak new truth into her life. It turned out, she had been run over by life time and time again. That day, she walked out in the truth and freedom that God was on her side, comforting her in all of the unjust things that had happened to her in life.
The truth that God hugs us and mourns with us is all over the gospels.
Jesus weeps over the death of his friend in Luke 11.
Jesus weeps over the Israelite people whom he just wants to gather up like a mother gathers her children.
Jesus weeps in the garden before he is taken to the cross.
Every time Jesus mourns, however, there is life on the other side.
Jesus raises his friend from the dead in Luke 11.
Jesus does gather up the Israelite people when he dies on their behalf. Jesus raises from the dead in another garden after he is hung on a cross.
There are two things that we can hold on to when it comes to mourning:
It is temporary. There is life on the other side.
When we mourn, God hugs us, places us by his side, and mourns with us.