Joy in a Minor Key

David Bast

READ : Matthew 5:4

What kind of sorrow is “happy sorrow”? Jesus does not narrow it down to one particular type of mourning. He says simply, “Blessed are those who mourn.” There is something wonderful about the fact that God’s blessing rests upon people who are sad. God’s comfort is promised to sufferers, not the carefree.

The Beatitudes are primarily concerned with our spiritual condition, not our emotional life. Just as the poverty about which Jesus spoke in the first beatitude actually referred to the humility of the poor in spirit, so the mourning of which he speaks here is primarily spiritual grief. It is sorrow for sin.

One of Words of Hope’s Russian friends has a beautiful tenor voice. At one of our meetings he sang a song for us that was popular among Russian Christians. Although I couldn’t understand the words, the piercing sadness of the melody touched me with melancholy. “You see,” Gennadi explained afterwards with a smile, “we Russian Christians have learned to sing our joy in a minor key.”

That’s how it has to be in this world. Those who know Christ can be joyful and happy, but our joy is often in a minor key as we carry in our hearts the sorrow that produces repentance until the day when sorrow and sighing will flee away.


Lord, we pray for your comfort and presence to be with all who are grieving this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.