Presence Devotion #36
The Comfort of Death
David Breen – General Manager of Training, Discovery Community Care
Matthew 5: 4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
What blessing can there be in mourning? What comfort in death? This sounds like a complexity that is beyond reality – an oxymoron. It is meant to be provocative – to stimulate you to think and wonder at what Jesus is suggesting. He often used metaphors, parables and stories to press his point and to find those who really wanted to know the truth – or who were just along for the ride.
So, do you want to know the real depth of comfort? Do you really want the comfort of God and the presence of the Love of Heaven in your life? Do you desire the deep things of God and to know the secrets of the heart of God – what makes his heart throb – and to know God even as you are known?
Be prepared to mourn! Yes mourn. I know it sounds like death and morbidity but that is exactly what Jesus was intending. We have to mourn first before we are comforted, we have to go to the point of deep sorrow and lamentation to enter into the beauty of the comfort of the King (and that comfort is so sweet, almost beyond words, touching the very deepest part of our spirits and souls). To enter into the mourning Jesus refers to we have to walk into death – that is where we experience the mourning that leads to comfort.
Many years ago I went to a funeral of someone very close to me; it was the most difficult day of my life. I wept and wept. I was filled with sorrow and sadness – I was mourning the loss of one I dearly loved. They were gone and death had taken them from me forever, never to return and the sorrow was deep – beyond words. Just to think of it again … and I am there as if it were yesterday.
Without sorrow and mourning there is no comfort. If I had not suffered the loss I would not know the kindness of those who came near and wept with me and held me when I was grieving so deeply. So it is with God – we do not know his comfort and closeness until we mourn and suffer the loss of what is dearest to us. Death needs to steal what is dearest to us so we feel the sorrow and grief of the loss – then we will know the comfort and closeness of the comfort of God.
What is dearest to us than our very selves? What is more precious than the centre of our being, our inner self? We treasure more than anything else our private and inner self – it is more precious than any other thing. You can take away possessions, loved ones, and freedom but still we will be our independent selves. We will not taste the pleasure of the comfort of God until the “self” dies a complete and utter death and we mourn its passing.
Losing a loved one is tragic and difficult – sorrow fills our hearts; but to put to death ourselves and mourn its passing is tragic if we don’t do it. If we don’t position ourselves to be crucified with Christ and to allow ourselves the death of the flesh and all its passions; we miss out on the comfort of God. To know the deep intimate presence of God and the delight of his comfort we must die and mourn deeply the day of our dying. This is the blessing of mourning and the comfort of death.
Luke 9: 22-26
1. Is there a day in your life where you can mark the day you died?
2. What are you holding on to that needs to die so you can know the comfort of God?
3. What steps will lead you to a place of mourning and the comfort of God?
Father, death and mourning is not something I gladly run towards, but I know you called me to die and mourn so I can know your presence and comfort. Please help me to lose my life so that I will find it in you and to live daily in your comfort. Amen