Disciples are sad.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 ESV)
When was the last time you mourned? When was the last time you truly felt a sense of loss, of tragedy in your heart? When was the last time you actually allowed yourself the opportunity to cry?

I say this as a guy who very infrequently cries. I don't think at all that it's because I have some sort of macho complex, that I feel like I'll lose a bit of manliness for letting a few tears fall. I have other areas on my life that prove I'm not the most Chuck Norris-y guy, and I'll readily own those areas of my life. But for reasons beyond my understanding, I don't usually feel the need to cry.

I don't know why it is that we feel the need to put up these huge defenses all the time against allowing sadness into our lives. At least in the American culture it seems as though we’ve gotten pretty comfortable equating sadness with weakness. If something or someone causes you to feel sad, you’re obviously attached to that something or someone. They must have a certain power over you to make you feel that way.

Typically when we think of mourning, we think of a loved one passing away. But really, in that and in several other situations, mourning is identifying and experiencing a sense of loss. I think you can mourn a break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. I think you can mourn a terrific television show (read: The West Wing) coming to an end. I even think you can mourn an empty coffee pot when you are in need of a fix.

But frequently we don’t. Frequently we just pretend the loss isn’t real, that it didn’t affect us, that we are fine either way. And when we do, we close ourselves off to a deeper healing. We close ourselves off to the comfort that Jesus promises here in verse 4.

You know what I mourn deeply? The loss of a relationship with my heavenly Father.

When I look at the world as it is and compare it to how it could be, I realize that I’m feeling a deep and terrible sense of loss because I don’t have the relationship with God that I want so badly. Things aren’t right, and that truly makes me sad.

Disciples should be sad. Disciples should look around the world and feel a deep sense of loss from our expulsion from the Garden. When we see people homeless in the streets, our hearts should break. When we hear stories of women being raped as a weapon of war in Africa, we should break down inside. When we hear about a war or rumors of a war, our tears should begin flowing. Disciples should understand the break between us and God and all the symptoms it provides.

But Jesus promises that comfort is coming. Jesus reminds us that if we open ourselves up to this kind of mourning, of feeling a deep sense of loss from our relationship with the Father that Jesus will provide comfort. And that’s exactly what he did on the cross.

So take some time today to mourn. Let yourself be sad. But don’t stay there long. Start looking for ways to be comforted, usually found by providing comfort to others.