Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew, 5:4 NIV)
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you” (The Message).
What a paradoxical statement! How can that be? Let’s think this through? What’s dear to us can vary over time and/or we can have many things that are dear to us:
Our jobs (careers)
Our brothers, our sisters, our homes, you name it.
For me it was the loss of a job and to certain extent a career that I spent 30 years building.
But you know I am surviving. I am embracing the process and learning to live by faith one day at a time.
I trust God to take care of me; yes, for the essentials (shelter, food, clothing, etc) and for the existential (the meaning of life, why me God, etc).
Yes it is scary, but I embrace this uncertainty, this mystery because the Lord has taught me that He is my shepherd and I shall not want (Psalm 23:1) and that He will carry my burdens daily (Psalm 68:19).
So in this time of loss, uncertainty and yes, questioning, my faith in my God is unwavering.
I know that God hears my sighs, sees my tears and even when I cannot pray intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express (Roman 8:26); and because of this, I know without doubt that I am in God’s care and in His will. Amen.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NIV).
“You are blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (The Message, Matthew 5:3).
God, I am at the end of my rope right now. In fact, I am losing my grip. I wouldn’t want to wish this _____________ (you name it) on anyone. But you said that I am blessed.
How can that be? Explain that to me? It is like I am in an endless pit. Teach me the secret of more of you. I want that reality for my life.
But then it hits me. If I put my focus on you instead of my problems I will feel blessed; blessed in such a way that I want to help others. One writer said that when we allow God to translate our problems into a ministry that our pain becomes someone else’s gain.*
We learned that when we are poor in spirit, we have more of God; and, isn’t that what we pray for anyway.
So as I pray daily, I remain hopeful, even as the grip gets tighter, in the words found in Ecclesiastes 7:8:
The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
*Batterson, M. (2006). In a pit with a lion on a snowy day.Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books
God, as I speak let me talk about your willingness to “go ahead” and pave the way for me; so my pain, sorrows, and injustice that I suffer are bearable.
For you oh Lord, have already taken the major brunt for me; your spirit prays for me when I know not what to pray—“making prayer out of my worthless sighs, my aching groans” (Roman, 8:26, The Message).
God as I speak…let me be genuine in my praise for you. Amen
I saw a bluebird-far away on a treetop; but oh, close enough by binoculars to move again my spirit to rejoice.
I saw a bluebird many years ago, an image of perfection and wonder, an image that has not died; nor will die, because God’s spirit that lives in that bluebird also lives within me.
Did I tell you that I saw a bluebird; I mean God?
“Only when we are willing to change and invite God to do his good pleasure in us, will the perplexity of our minds and the ache in our hearts abate” (Richard H. Schmidt, Praises, Prayers & Curses, p.35).
I wish I could agree with Mr. Schmidt. It sounds very logical. It’s an easy out to all the perplexing questions about life and all that our eyes see about life. But, then Psalm 13:2 rang strongly in my ears:
“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”
It may be a lifetime for me—because I am so stubborn. I want my cake now. What does God want with me (I have been studying Job)? I am a decent human being. I am no different from anyone else.
If God wants something from me—WHY DOESN’T GOD SPEAK CLEARLY? Why must I try to figure out this puzzle? Why must I play this game? I meditate daily; I am obedient to the commandments, yet, this loving God and the life that I live seem not to be in sync.
What do you have me to do Lord? What would you have me to do? Remove my fears; dampen my will; so I can be obedient to what you want me to do. And then God speaks:
You must remain flexible, teachable. I am the potter and you are the clay (Jeremiah 18:1-6).
- God Is My Refuge (markbyrd.wordpress.com)
I don’t know what your lot in life has been or will be in the future, but here’s a prayerful thought that I offer you
Photograph and graphic design by Jim Whalen
I had a pity party yesterday. I felt sorry for myself. Nothing is going as planned. Why should I an innocent, suffer? What is this all about? God, are you teaching me to be patient? Is there’s something better, as we like to say to cheer ourselves, or is this just life; and bad things happen to good people.
I hope not. I have seen bad things happen to good people. It is not pretty and it is not fair. My friends and my colleagues feel my pain too. But soon they will forget. They have to forget, and life for them will go on as before. But the ones that suffer—suffer still.
Richard H. Schmidt writes: “When we let our happiness depend on some future event, often something unlikely to happen and perhaps something that wouldn’t be best for us anyway, our waiting becomes tense and anxious. The key to waiting contentedly is to focus upon God.”* God, I am definitely focused on you-‘yeah right!’
Max Lucado writes: “(God) said no to good things so (God) could say yes to the right thing….”** I am wondering what that right thing is for me? You have been there too, huh.
God, I had a pity party yesterday and I want to have another one today. But you know what; I will fight this ‘poor me’ syndrome. I am better than this. I have choices. I choose to embrace the positive and even find good in this bad. This is what I know:
- God alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:2.
- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.
So God, I am reminded that I am on a journey. This wonderful journey; a journey that requires me to be attuned to every facet of my life; an opportunity to yearn and learn, to dream the impossible; an opportunity to re-think my direction, but more than anything; to trust you, to put my faith into action, to live out Psalm 23:1: “you are my shepherd and I have everything I need.”
Who needs a pity party?
*Richard H. Schmidt. Praises Prayers & Curses Conversations with the Psalms. 2005, p. 123.
**Max Lucado. Cure for the Common Life. 2005, p. 106.