Friday, October 13, 2006

The Beatitudes: Water in the Desert of LIfe

This started as a reply to Japhy's comment on the previous post, but started growing ...
We must see God in times of joy, and seek God in times of sorrow. (comment by Japhy)

It feels that way, doesn't it? I think back to the various times in life when I was completely overwhelmed. Not merely "overworked." Not simply, "It's a little rough right now but I'll get through it if I just hang in there." But when I was truly completely overwhelmed, over my head. Sometimes with bad stuff happening to me, or bleak prospects for what the rest of my life might look like, or problems with family members' health/sanity, or sometimes just disgusted with the realization that I have a lot of evil inside me.

The beatitudes were always like water in a desert to me then. I was thinking tonight (during a long drive) that Jesus' teachings are so unlike those of the other religions, and the beatitudes really were foremost in my mind among those teachings. Take, for example, the problem of despair. It's a real part of life. And compassion is medicine for it, and hope is the antidote. But at times like that, compassion and hope can be heart-breaking in a good way. At those "worst of times" parts of life, it seems like the whole world depends on me and I'm just not up to it. With the beatitudes, with the realization that I'm not alone, that God does love me, that it doesn't depend on me toughing it out, that things ride less on my endurance and more on God's blessing -- that can bring me to tears of relief. It's such a weight off my shoulders. It's like all the lights had been out and someone lit a torch and now the darkness isn't overwhelming.

That's how I see the beatitudes.

On the off chance that someone will read this who doesn't know what Jesus said in the beatitudes:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfield.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven. For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

1 comment:

DugALug said...


Wow! It is funny how things run in clumps!

I think you will enjoy my last post in my evangelism series. This post is the perfect exclaimation point to it.

Thanks for the cool reminder.

God Bless