By Brother Gary Wheeler

We dated for seven years (I was in ninth grade), then married for seventeen and a half years, when I stood along with my young sons beside my wife and their mother’s casket after a four-year battle with breast cancer.

I knew where she was because of the promise of the resurrection. I knew she was with the Lord because of her faith in Christ for so many years. I knew my boys and I were surrounded by family, friends, a wonderful church, and the Holy Spirit—Who is called Comforter.

But I still mourned. Oh, God, did I mourn. Some of it is still a blur. My mother later said that it was four years and meeting my current wife before the old me returned.

Yet, sadness did not dominate my life. Sure, I would cry occasionally; still do. But the words of Jesus have always been my way. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, ESV).

Biblical scholar F.F. Bruce wrote, “There can be no comfort where there is no grief.”

For the kingdom citizen, grief and sorrow take us to the heart of God, where we find a paradox: comfort latent in the grief. It is in our grief that we find the comfort of God. That’s why it was a blur to me, for a miraculous and divine thing occurs when we mourn. God shows up in ways we cannot understand when we mourn.