Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
I dragged my butt to church tonight. I had every reason to not go. Vertigo, stress, and emotions from the week were up there on the list and I could have let that elephant win...without much of a fight at all.
I'm so glad that I didn't though, as the church I attend on Friday nights was covering, "Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted." The pastor who spoke lost his daughter when she was young. He spoke about a lot of things that people can mourn, being sinful people, the sinful world we live in, then he said, "blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted."
As soon as the service comes online, I will post it but God blessed me so much. He saw that I showed up, albeit stubbornly. I literally started a constant stream of tears by the mere announcement of the sermon title. A friend came to sit by me as soon as it was announced. I looked around and everyone around me was crying on my behalf. I had people I've not had a real conversation with for years, hold my hand and cry with me, while we worshipped God. I had strangers lay their hands on me and pray for me while the pastor was praying for those in a season of deep loss. I had another friend speak truth to me in the middle of my weeping. She said, "God knows and doesn't belittle the sting around Pete's death but you are blessed. You will be comforted."
And at the end of it all, we sang, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." This song has been one that Pete and I had in our heritage and we would sing it in our hardest days. Before singing it in the car or in the hospital around his cancer journey, we sang it during so many other hard seasons of our lives - job loss, being overwhelmed with little kids, having to defend ourselves to institutions who were wrong about us, stress at work, setting hard boundaries, and fighting for and in our marriage.
The relationship Pete encouraged me to have with God was one of not needing to hide anything from God. That I had eternal value and worth to Him. God always wanted a relationship with me and was always there with open arms. To catch me when I ran to Him, with His arms open wide. So much of the difficulty we had in our lives has prepared us to be comforted in this difficult season. God does not forbid me from being angry. God encourages me to let Him know how I feel. God knows the ache and sting of death as He watched His son die.
But for me, that is not the end of my story, as it wasn't God's either. Easter is where so much comfort comes from. Death is not the end for me, nor was it for Pete. Because of the resurrection, I have hope. Pete is not in pain, in his physical body. I have had so many people tell me, days after he passed away, that they saw Pete and he was at peace. I am so glad that that was shared that with me because it's given me so much comfort. Because theologians like to debate, and Pete was one of them, I have heard a lot about whether I will recognize Pete in the new earth or not. Horrifyingly enough, I heard this debate mentioned at the graveside service of my mother-in-law. I don't know the answer to all of that.
But what I do know is that...right here and right now...
I will be comforted.
I am not alone.
He has not forgotten or forsaken me.
He knows the tears that fall on my pillow.
He will strengthen [me] and help [me]; [He] will uphold me with [His] righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10