“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
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give… will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give… will become… a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 NIV
Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really thirsty. You drink and drink from the well of life, but you are still dehydrated; you are still dry as dust. You say to yourself: “Why can’t I feel full, feel satisfied.” And then you pray:
God, I thirst for success, for completion, for accomplishments, for a job well done—but in my heart, I know I am not there yet. Help.
God, I thirst for a mission that can really make a difference in people’s lives. I thirst to be like you Jesus, yet I sadly go away because my behavior fills me with doubts and shame. How can I ever expect to be like you? Help.
I thirst for peace, for no confrontations, for no worries or anxieties. O God, I thirst for extended rest and relaxation. I thirst for that special rest; that eternal rest that only you can provide; that peace beyond understanding.
Yes, God, I seek that spiritual rest; that rest that only you can provide. I am looking for that ever lasting water that Jesus promises.
Jesus, please give me water from the well; so I too, like the woman at the well, will never have that empty feeling, that “spiritual drought” again. Amen.
Long enough, God—you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain. Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me. Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye, so no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face. Psalm 13:1-4 (The Message).
You want a more traditional version of this Psalm—check your King James Version, or New International Version or better yet, maybe the New Living Translation or the New American Standard Bible. Guess what, they all say the same thing. Can it get any worse, let’s see? I will use a more traditional scripture interpretation.
My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Psalm 22:1-2 (New Living Translation).
Have you ever doubted God’s love for you? According to Richard H. Schmidt (2005), “most of us feel forsaken by God from time to time. We feel either that God is real but has turned his back on us, or that the God we had thought was real is actually an illusion.” (p. 44). Those words in Psalm 22 were quoted by Jesus on the cross. He too felt abandoned by the One he had trusted; the one that God loves; God’s only begotten son.
Can I ask you again? Have you ever doubted God’s love for you? If so, revisit your life to see how faithful God has been to you, how he has blessed you, how he had protected you and how even today God continues to communicate with you. Are you surprised that he met your needs, not your wants, but your needs? Are you surprised to feel His presence among your friends and within your heart? Are your life renewed with optimism and hope.
Yes, we will feel abandoned again, but remember Jesus was one of us and he was there in that forsaken place. But according to Schmidt (2005), Jesus is also God and therefore, God knows what it is like to feel abandoned. Yes, this knowledge takes faith, but I pray that through your study of holy readings, prayers, your circumstances and fellowship with your faith community that God’s love for you will be revealed. So I say trust God and I pray today that we never forget God’s loves for us.
God, as I bare my soul to others, may my doubts give others confidence; may my cry allow others to laugh, and my discomfort allows others to be comforted?
As I search for you and wait to hear your voice, may others hear your voice through me.
I thank you God for allowing me to be the instrument, the vessel for others to find their way. I pray that in the process I too will find my way. Amen