Finding Happiness (part 2)
“Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted.” (HCSB)
This text makes no sense at first reading. Is Jesus actually saying that the second step in the quest for happiness is to mourn? I checked to see if there might be some significance to the Greek word used for mourn that might explain the meaning a bit, and found that the word is a fairly intense word that is translated wail in a couple places in the New Testament. Jesus is saying exactly what He appears to be saying here—mourning is the second step toward happiness.
Certainly the promise to be comforted is significant, but it isn’t the primary thrust of the verse. Jesus didn’t say happy are those who are comforted, even though they mourn. He said, Happy are those who mourn. This leads me to ask, “Who are these happy mourners and what are they mourning about?”
Obviously, Jesus isn’t talking about the type of grief Paul wrote about in the second half of 2 Corinthians 7:10 “…but worldly grief produces death.” (HCSB)
That is the grief Rachel exhibited in Genesis 30:1 “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob [any children], she envied her sister. ‘Give me sons, or I will die!’ she said to Jacob.” (HCSB) Jacob worked seven years to win Rachel’s love. I don’t mean he courted her for seven years, I mean that for seven years he did work for her father in exchange for the right to marry Rachel. The morning after his wedding there was mourning--he discovered Leah, not Rachel in his bed. His father-in-law tricked him and pawned weak-eyed Leah off on Jacob. Jacob wasn’t happy. Genesis 29:17 gives us a clue why, “And Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face.” (NASB95) In short, Rachel had a killer body and the face of an angel, while Leah was weak-eyed. Perhaps that means she needed to visit the optometrist, or perhaps it was a delicate way of saying she didn’t have a killer body and the face of an angel like her sister.
Jacob agreed to work for another seven years for Rachel’s hand, but this time got his payment up front. But Genesis 30:1 indicates that all was not well in paradise. Not only did Rachel have to share her husband with her sister, but weak-eyed Leah was giving Jacob children while she wasn’t. It grieved her to the point of death.
No one in the right mind would think Rachel was happy. She wasn’t. She was so sad that she was ready to die.
Proverbs 18:14 says, “A man’s spirit can endure sickness, but who can survive a broken spirit?” (HCSB)
King Ahab experienced a similar grief when Naboth wouldn’t sell him a piece of Real Estate he wanted. 1 Kings 21:4 “So Ahab went to his palace resentful and angry, because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had told him. He had said, ‘I will not give you my fathers’ inheritance.’ He lay down on his bed, turned his face away, and didn’t eat any food.” (HCSB)
Now this is a pretty sight, isn’t it? King Ahab wasn’t able to close a Real Estate deal so he pouted and went to bed early without his supper. I would imagine that no one entered his chambers and asked the King, “Why are you so happy today?” He was experiencing the grief that leads to death.
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