In this sermon, Youth Director Mike Bittenbender preaches on the 2nd Beatitude: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Here are some excerpts:
When we read the second Beatitude, it can make us uncomfortable. Some may think that upon accepting Christ into their lives, all their troubles, all their pain, all the bad stuff in their lives would cease and they would live a completely happy life. Why would there be mourning in their lives? Mourning sounds like pain and sadness. Unfortunately this is often portrayed as the Christian life, for those who believe in Jesus. However all throughout the New Testament, from Jesus Himself to Paul and other authors, we see that the Christian life will include pain and suffering. Even at the end of the Beatitudes, the last one talks about being insulted, persecuted and slandered all because of your identity in Jesus and Who He is.
C. S. Lewis wrote about this in his book A Grief Observed. Lewis wrote: “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for.” Lewis affirms suffering and suffering not because of God, but because of who he, Lewis, is: a sinner. He said: “I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for.” That assumes responsibility and yet allows room for God’s mercy to be evident as well.
…As humans, it is our nature to believe that we can do anything if we try hard enough, that anything is within our own strength and grasp. Even in the face of the knowledge of our spiritual poverty, our hubris keeps us from feeling its effects and weeping for it. Spurgeon says: “Human weakness is a small obstacle to salvation compared with human strength; there lies the work and difficulty. Hence, it is a sign of grace to know one’s need of grace.”
When we believe we are righteous, when we believe in our own merits, this is an affront to Christ. When we look at ourselves and see what we do and/or what we say and boast in those things, we are resting in our own strength. In our own strength we diminish the work of God’s grace and mercy in our lives. Yet where our strength ends, His mercy begins and that mercy has done much more for us than we can ever imagine, surpassing our own power, wisdom and hope.