The "Real" Upside Down - Part 2: A Promise for People in Pain

martin-sattler-167489.jpg

More than 60 years ago, A. W. Tozer described the “upside down” nature of the gospel and life in the Kingdom with these incredible words:

“A real Christian is an odd number anyway.
He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen,
talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see,
expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another,
empties himself in order to be full,
admits he is wrong so he can be declared right,
goes down in order to get up,
is strongest when he is weakest,
richest when he is poorest and happiest when he feels worst.
He dies so he can live,
forsakes in order to have,
gives away so he can keep,
sees the invisible,
hears the inaudible,
and knows that which passeth knowledge.”
—A.W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, 1955, pg. 156; also in The Quotable Tozer

The Beatitudes are all about the upside down, radical and relentless grace of God and how that grace gives us the power and ability to do what we could never do in our own strength.

Jesus shares eight principles in Matthew 5:3-12 that enable us to live in the “real upside down.” We covered the first yesterday. Life in the “upside down” kingdom of God begins when we admit our need. Jesus said it this way, “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

Here’s the next principle:

lily-lvnatikk-363743.jpg

2. Accept your BROKENNESS over the pain you’ve experienced and the damage SIN does (See Matthew 5:4).

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”—Matthew 5:4 NIV

Some translations read, Happy are the sad…”

That sounds so paradoxical. But it’s right there!

Have you ever grieved the loss of someone or something? Maybe your spouse walked out and your marriage imploded?  

Have you ever grieved the loss of job? You invested your life in a company, then out of nowhere they handed you a pink slip and explained they were moving in another direction? 

Have you ever felt like failure as a parent, spouse or a friend? Or, maybe you’ve grieved because you and your spouse have prayed to have a child, but for some reason it just hasn’t happened yet?

Maybe you’ve grieved the passing of a loved one? Perhaps he or she was the love of your life?

Have you ever felt so broken-hearted that you didn’t know whether you would be able to make it through another day?

In Matthew 5:4, Jesus said, “Somehow… Someway… Sacred delight is on your way… You are ultimately going to know what it means to be blessed and to flourish again…”

God is moved by our tears..

ian-espinosa-311604.jpg

Promises for those who grieve show up throughout the Bible.

For instance:

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” —Ps 56:8 NLT

God doesn’t miss a tear! God hasn’t been AWOL during your pain. “If it matters to you, it matters to Him.” God cares!

Or how about this promise?

“Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning!” —Ps 30:5b.

Your pain and loss won’t last forever. The Message actually reads, “The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.”

Don’t miss that comparison! “…nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.” A sunny day is in your forecast!

I know… When you’re in the middle of grief, that kind of radical turn-around is hard to imagine. But God’s Word promises that our pain can be transformed!

Or, how about this one?

“Then he broke through and transformed all my wailing into a whirling dance of ecstatic praise! He has torn the veil and lifted from me the sad heaviness of mourning. He wrapped me in the glory garments of gladness.” —Psalm 30:11 TPT

Sometimes our pain requires a breakthrough. Sometimes the dense fog of pain and loss makes us feel as if we’ll never know what it means to step back out into the sun. But God promises: “Breakthrough is on the way! I will break through your sadness and you will experience gladness again!”

Finally, how about this one?

“To all who mourn…he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his glory.” —Isaiah 61:3-4

The beauty of the gospel is that not only does God see our pain, but He actually experienced it! Jesus came so that He could experience everything we would ever experience and make it possible for our pain and loss to be transformed and redeemed! (See Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Pet 2:23-25; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor 8:9 and more)

You can trust Him with your pain today!

Jesus said: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” —Matthew 5:4 NIV

The word “mourn” is a pretty inclusive word that covers every aspect of mourning. But, there’s a specific kind of mourning implied in Matthew 5:4. The Amplified Bible hints at it…

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].” —Matt 5:4 AMP

ben-white-165045.jpg

2 Corinthians 7:10 calls this kind of mourning, “godly sorrow.” We don’t talk about this a lot in 2018. But it’s critical. 

“…godly sorrow, is not so much about regret; but it is about producing a change of mind and behavior that ultimately leads to salvation. But the other type of sorrow, worldly sorrow, often is fleeting and only brings death.” —2 Corinthians 7:10 VOICE

This is describing the biblical idea of “repentance.” The word is metanoia and it means to change your mind, change your direction, do a 180 when it comes to sin…” In other words, “Turn away from sin and turn back to the loving arms of Father God…”

That’s the kind of mourning Jesus is talking about. It’s the kind of mourning that helps you break free from destructive behavior patterns that have kept you bound for years. It’s the kind of godly sorrow that breaks the cycle of sin and gives you the ability to break free from the habits, hang-ups, hurts and addictions that have kept you stuck!

How are you doing on this one?
Have you mourned your brokenness?
Have you allowed yourself to grieve the losses you’ve experienced in life?
Have you wept over your personal sin and over the damage your sin has done?

Blessed…are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted… —Matt 5:4 AMP

The word “comforted” is a great word. It’s related to the Greek word “parakletos” that Jesus later used for the Holy Spirit. It means comforter, counselor or helper.

In other words, it’s when we mourn that we are most likely to experience the Holy Spirit coming to comfort, counsel and help us with our pain.

I’ll close this post with one more promise:

“The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain, and he is always ready to restore the repentant one.” —Psalm 34:18 TPT

That’s a promise to cling to. It’s a promise for people in pain.