The Blessedness of Mourning
Many blessings are found in things which we do not enjoy. There is a passage in the Old Testament which declares a principle that men need to remember. "It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning: but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth" (ECCI. 7: 2-3). Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4). The word "blessed" means "happy." Therefore Jesus said, "Happy are they that mourn . . . " Of course not every sort of mourning can claim this blessing, for "the sorrow of the world worketh death" (2 Cor. 7:10). Solomon said that there is a time for mourning. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance" (Eccl. 3:1-4).
Perhaps you are thinking, "How can mourning be a blessing?" Let's look at some of the blessings which come from mourning:
(1) Comfort f or Others Comes From Mourning:
Mourning teaches one to have a deeper sympathy and compassion for others. The word sympathy means "to feel with." The Apostle Paul said, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Rom. 12: 15). Mourning should teach us to share the sorrow of another. Though Paul had in mind the suffering for the cause of Christ, his statement may serve in any suffering: "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Cor. 1:3-4). One who has experienced sorrow is able to comfort as one cannot who has not experienced such affliction and comfort. The mourner has learned through experience, and should teach and help others that which he knows. Paul told the Thessalonians, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thess. 4:18).
(2) Mourning Helps Make One Patient and Brings Hope:
Another blessing of mourning is that it helps make one more patient and brings about hope. Trials, suffering and mourning may become tests of one's faith. James said, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith, worketh patience" ( Jas. 1: 2-3 ). The Apostle Paul rejoiced in the hope of the glory of God, but that was not all. "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in trubulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Rom. 5:2-5).
(3) Mourning Can Help Make a Person Humble:
God expects us to be humble. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (I Pet. 5:6). Adversities teach us humility. Paul wrote: "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure" (2 Cor. 12:7). The thing causing mourning often makes a pause to reflect upon past failures and mistakes, and causes us to realize our need for humility.
(4) Mourning Causes Men to Depend on God:
A person who mourns over his sins in his life will take to God-given steps to rid his life to them. A genuine sorrow for sins leads to a turning from sin, and salvation from sin.
"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of . . ." (2 Cor. 7: 10). Jesus said in the sermon of the mount, that those who mourn shall be comforted
(Matt. 5:4). What a comfort fills the heart of the alien sinner who receives remission of his past sins by obeying the gospel of Christ or the child of God who has been brought to repentance by godly sorrow. Even Christ learned obedience by the things which he suffered (Heb. 7:8). Mourning teaches the Christian to depend on God. Trouble is the school of prayer. When Christians are made to sorrow, they feel the need of prayer, perhaps more than at any other time. Of course, we need to pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17). Peter said, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (I Pet. 5:7).
Truth Magazine VII: 3, pp. 8-9