“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NLT)
Deep joy and fulfillment comes as we realize our spiritual poverty and need for God. We celebrate “for He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son….”
One such celebration took place in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. People of the Mouk Tribe had been taught God’s Story chronologically from Creation through Christ. Their teachers were fellow Mouk from another village. Truth began to sink into hearts and minds as they gathered. Suddenly villagers began speaking out, “Ee-taow!” meaning: “It’s true. It’s good. It’s very true!”
As many more began to receive Jesus, spontaneous rejoicing swept across the crowd. They danced and sang. Mark and Gloria Zook, missionaries who assisted in this outreach, recorded the amazing event on video. (Watch for yourselves http://vimeo.com/9333908) Many scenes are permanently etched in my memory.
Mark describes one powerful moment when unexpectedly the celebration stopped: “It just seemed to hit them that all their family that had died in the past have gone into a Christ-less eternity. They started wailing. The grieving is really genuine.” The video shows them overcome with mourning—tears streaming down.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn.” People of the Kingdom have hearts of compassion for those who are lost, outside the Kingdom. With new eyes they see that this world is not as God intended. Perhaps a bit of God’s own sadness touches our hearts.
Mark continues, “They cried for a while and then it gave way to singing and rejoicing again.” No the world is not as God intended. Yet God comforts us with the confidence that He has the solution, He has the plan. He invites us to be part of it.
The Mouk evangelists joined the celebration that day, remembering how celebration filled their village too, not long before. It was Mark who taught God’s Story to them over a period of months. In the midst of that celebration, Mark remembered his pastor back home saying, “Mark, the first thing I do is encourage new believers to share this Good News of the Gospel with others.”
“So right in the middle of all this rejoicing,” says Mark, “I ask some of the guys, ‘When are you going to go and tell other villages about this Good News?’ Well, everything goes quiet. So I ask them again. This one guy, Mendo, speaks up and says, ‘We’ll go. But we don’t have a clue as to how to go about it.’ And everyone is saying, ‘Yeah. We’ll go!’ real enthused.”
“So I said, ‘That’s all I want to know. I’ll show you how.’” Immediately shouting and dancing resumed!
There is a time to mourn, a time to be comforted and a time to act.
Question for reflection: In what ways have you experienced mourning over broken people and broken communities?
Kingdom prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes the problems we see among the unreached are crushing. Keep us from being overcome in our mourning, bless us with Your comfort and show us what You would have us do to extend Your Kingdom.