Personal failure draining resolve. Depression crumbling purpose and passion. Misperception mocking aspiration, redefining hope as wishful thinking. Blurred vision weighing the heart with chains of doubt. Stripped of hope. Gripped by addiction to the natural, aversion to the spiritual. Enslaved to weakness by self pity. Disillusioned by devastated plans. Hurt by unappreciated sacrifice. Self loathing evoked by continuous abandonment of the deliberate to accommodate the impulsive. Paralyzed by grief, devastated by loss. Faithlessness rusting the soul. History littered with destructive selfishness. Reading the words but not getting the message. Lying desperately at the water’s edge, waiting for the angel to stir its healing powers but unable to reach the pool.
Have you been there? Visited? Live there? You are in a good place. What???? That’s what my husband used to tell me when I poured out my discouraged heart to him. It does not seem good, and certainly does not feel good. That is the place that Jesus describes as poor in spirit. And He has a perspective. “Blessed are the spiritually poor—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Mt 5:3 Voice Blessed is probably one of the last descriptors that comes to mind, but as usual, heaven’s point of view and ours are at odds.
If you find yourself there, take courage and comfort from the Savior’s carefully chosen evaluation of your condition. If you are not there now you will be at some point. It is then you must choose whether to trust the emotions battering the floodwalls of mind and heart or be persuaded of the impending tsunami of God’s grace and love. It is counterintuitive to invite Him to realign the poisoned default response to life’s onslaughts, ‘irrational’ to choose faith rather than despair. Getting into the boat with Him during a storm requires total trust, and sometimes the dock of this common mortal existence seems preferable to living in an unnatural revealed reality – even with the possibility of walking on the water! Embracing the touch of a healing hand through a life-giving word is made easier when one is desperate, as our true condition is so often masked by success and achievement. So relish His kingdom care! Here are Jesus’ words filtered through a couple of different translations:
“How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! How happy are those who know what sorrow means for they will be given courage and comfort! Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for goodness, for they will be fully satisfied! Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them! Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God! Happy are those who make peace, for they will be sons of God! Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! And what happiness will be yours when people blame you and ill-treat you and say all kinds of slanderous things against you for my sake! Be glad then, yes, be tremendously glad—for your reward in Heaven is magnificent. They persecuted the prophets before your time in exactly the same way.” Mt 5:2-12 jbp
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.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.You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” msg
Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount still comforts weary hearts. Rewrite your own version of it – the (fill in your name) translation. You’ll be glad you did!