Mourn • Devotion #3: Groaning

”Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

About 606,500 Americans are projected to die from cancer in 2020,

Over 300,000 children are trafficked across international borders each year, the majority into the sex trade,

There were 227,000 dead in minutes during a massive earthquake and resulting tsunami in Thailand in 2004,

One in eight Americans are alcoholics while ten percent of people in the world are starving,

About 800,000 Rwandans hacked each other to death by machete in 1994,

There have been 61.8 million unborn babies murdered by U.S. government-sanctioned abortion since 1973,

There were 782,000 divorces in the U.S. last year,

There are 78.1 million visits to pornography websites every single day.

Have you considered the magnitude of the brokenness, the depth of deprivation, and how nauseatingly sinful the world we live in actually is (Romans 3:10-18)? Rarely are any of us exposed to the horror of mass murder or the devastation of natural disasters. However, as believers, we should all feel the effect of sin in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We are witnesses now to the groaning and agony of a fallen creation that is longing for God to lift the curse and make it new. How should we as Christians be affected by this and, more importantly, how should we live?

First, we should be affected. The oppression of sin weighing on both our spirits and our physical bodies is a constant reminder of our and the world’s need for Jesus Christ. The sin in our own lives that drags us down, marginalizing our effectiveness for the Gospel, should leave us heartbroken and repentant but many times we feel nothing. Why would you and I spit in the face of our Savior and feel nothing?

Second, we are told to weep with those around us who are suffering loss and share in their pain (Romans 12:15). God did not give us His Spirit so that we would walk through life self-absorbed and distracted. The outworking of the Spirit produces empathy for broken hurting people who need to hear the Gospel.

Most importantly, we need to realize that as a result of man’s sin, it was God who subjected His creation to futility and death as the consequence of that sin (Genesis 3:14-18; Romans 8:18-24). This is a comforting reality for us if we can trust that He did it for a reason that is righteous and just and that He is in total sovereign control. There is hope! It is the hope that in the end God will redeem creation and make all things, including us, new and perfect. Christians have unique knowledge and responsibility that God has given us to share this hope that can be found through the Gospel. It is the only hope for a world that is facing inevitable suffering, atrocities, and death (Luke 13:1-5).

May we live with an acute awareness of our sinful tendencies and mourn because we willfully fail our Savior every day. Let us not sidestep our calling to weep with our brothers and sisters and share in their grief and suffering. May we not be distracted by the numbing effects of our American culture and underestimate how broken and desperate for the Gospel the world is. Yet, let us mourn in hope and live joyfully (2 Corinthians 6:10), because although we are still waiting, God has already given us the greatest blessing in salvation through Jesus Christ and has promised to make all things new.

“And not only the creation, but we ourselves,

who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,

groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons,

the redemption of our bodies.”

Romans 8:23

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