There is a difference between happiness and being blessed. They simply do not always go together. When we typically feel like the Lord is blessing us, it is quite frankly because things are going well in our lives at the moment.
As we read the Beatitudes, and as I have experienced in my life, we see that we are blessed even in the worst of times. Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Those who mourn are by definition, not happy. However, they are blessed.
Before full-time ministry, I had not experienced an abundance of death. Three of my four grandparents had passed away in my teen and early twenties. This surely affected me but they were all before I had really come to know Jesus. We were, for the most part, as prepared for them as we could be because they were not very sudden deaths. We knew they were coming as a result of cancer or dementia.
Then I came to work for the church. I have experienced more tragic and unexpected loss of life in these four years than I imagine most do in a lifetime. I have also witnessed God do incredible things in the midst of tragedy. The Bible tells us to weep with those who weep. I have wept.
I have also seen Paul’s comments in 2 Corinthians 12:9 at work in the darkest of times. It says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
If we are with the Lord, that is knowing who Jesus is and what He did for us with absolute certainty, the blessing of His grace will carry us through any challenge that can be thrown our way. It is in mourning, when we may be at our weakest, when His grace is shown the most.
I have seen the widowed wife stand tall and brave. I have seen the child who lost a parent collapse into a ball. Both have found comfort as a blessing from the Lord.
In Him, and through no work of our own, we find blessing and comfort in mourning. Happiness will come again in time but the blessing of comfort will be there through the entire process when we turn to Jesus and look to Him for strength.