I have been in Jamaica for just over 12 hours and i am really enjoying experiencing a new place for the first time. More of that later. This week i have been reflecting a bit on what it means to be blessed. I arrived home just under two weeks ago to find my mother in pretty bad shape physically. She has multiple sclerosis, diagnosed 30 plus years ago, and her journey with God as she has lived with the disease has constantly inspired me. Right now though, whether its the MS or other things, getting about on her legs is a mammoth struggle. What is the appropriate response? Is it to let go, pray for healing or fight back? I don’t know, that is the difficult journey that Mum has to walk. But at the heart of that dilemma is the fundamental question ‘am i blessed by God, or has he forgotten me?’.
What does it look like to be blessed by God? Listening and watching some people, one would be excused for thinking it consisted of a long and fierce wrestling with Almighty God to make him give what he doesnt really want to give. Looking elsewhere one would be excused for thinking it was some sort of socio-political contest with others.
As i read Matthew 5 again the other night, i was reminded of how wrong we often are in our assumptions and hopes of what it means to be blessed. Were we right it would probably say things like: blessed are those who once were poor and now are rich…. or blessed are those who once feared losing their loved ones for now they will never suffer grief… or blessed are those who once feared mistreatment but now know constant favour… It doesn’t say these things… thankfully.
Here’s what i think Jesus may have been saying: we will all experience poverty of many kinds, we will know profound grief for loves and life lost, we will experience relentless injustice and lack of mercy from those around us, we will find ourselves working hard to restore things to where they were meant to be, and we will be persecuted. Yet withal, will find a way to continue our wholehearted search for God in the midst of this confronting darkness, choosing self control, gentleness and patience because we have our eyes set on His love for us….. ‘and in the midst of all of this; know that i am right there with you. i have not called you out of the pain of life, but i have called you to be with me in the very midst of it, yes, i have called you blessed.’
My mother may lose heart when her body, for a spell, stops complying with her wishes, but i know that she is blessed because in the midst of it she never ceases to aknowledge her Father, and in the moments when she cant see him, she calls out in protests, because she knows that he is still there with her.