Before Christmas I spent some time going through the Beatitudes.
Jesus has a crowd of people listening who are big fans of the blessings of God, and as soon as He has their full attention He drops a bomb: evidence of God’s blessing isn’t in the healed, but in the broken.
He lists off all these different types of people who are blessed, but it’s the opposite of who we think of as blessed. Just like the crowd back in the day, you and I have an incorrect perception of who is blessed.
Our different view of blessing.
Here’s who I think is blessed: confident, unyielding, just folks who stand their ground and don’t suffer. I think people who manage to draw a crowd without offense are blessed. Here’s why I think they are blessed: because they win influence, they grow in stature and fame, they get what they want.
Here’s who Jesus thinks is blessed: weak, yielding people who surrender their rights and never fight for their own name, who are persecuted and pursue obedience even when it costs them favor and influence. And He thinks they’re blessed because they have Heaven and they get more of God.
Why the different views.
There are two reasons I can think of why Jesus and I have such different lists. The first reason is because I don’t believe the rewards He lays out are true. If I don’t believe that the meek actually will inherit the earth, it makes sense that I wouldn’t think they were really blessed.
That’s a possibility.
But honestly – it’s not that I doubt the rewards He lays out, I just doubt the ‘betterness’ of the rewards Jesus holds out. I doubt that the promise of getting more of God is really a better offer than the promise of temporal happiness.
I think I believe that those who are persecuted on Earth will get more of God. I’m just not sure I believe that more of God is worth giving up temporal rights.
I’m all about getting more God in theory. But my life seems to testify I’m more about getting enough God. I want just enough God to make me feel okay and sleep well at night and then I want the rest of my life to be about me and what I want. Why would I give up things I love to get more of God when I have ‘enough’ God already?
The promise that those who mourn are blessed because they’re comforted is part of what led me to pray for suffering. I wanted more of God and I was willing to suffer the loss of all things in order to gain Christ.
But today, wishing for one more conversation with my dad, I can’t help but feel in the deep dark parts of my heart, that maybe I had enough of God already. Isn’t it better to have enough God and still get my dad? Is getting more of God worth the cost of losing things we love?
Like the nation of Israel, I forget far too easily. My memory has dulled the sweetness of the comfort of God. There was a time when I believed that any loss was worth gaining more of God.
Seven months ago when I got the call that my father was gone, I wrote this:
Overwhelmingly thankful. So many kindnesses this week. It doesn’t make it hurt less, but it does make the pain have a bottom. The ground is under me; a firm foundation of grace to curl up in and cry. I worship You for your great grace. For your tender kindness. For your sovereign will…
Overwhelmed by God’s grace. Overwhelmed by how He has written my life and made me His and taught me to love His Word and His Son. I thank you God. So thankful and full of echoes of faith that feel like they could be embers, fanned into flame by Him.
I must not forget that the past months have been some of the sweetest in my life. I’m not super spiritual and I don’t have a gift of faith. I’ve had my share of anger and pain and I feel like I’m in the worst emotional shape of my life. But I know Jesus better today than I ever have and honestly – that is worth a million deaths to me.
So while my unbelief cries out to go back and have just ‘enough’ Jesus and some of my dad, my soul knows better. Through His Spirit, my soul will continue to pray - whatever it takes to have more of you Jesus.
Blessed are those who mourn. They will indeed be comforted.