I saw something (again!) that stirred up a slew of emotions inside of me. That kind of sadness which makes you want to curl up on your side, hug your knees, and maybe cry a little? Then silent doubts and painful questions flood your mind? Why has the Lord seemed to have forgotten to punish the wicked and to reward the faithful and righteous? Why do other people continue to flourish in innumerable blessings day after day, month after month, year after year, and yet, you only have mostly trials, suffering, and languishing? You are puzzled and confused, and your heart is filled with sorrow and heaviness.
I thought of the many, many essays about God’s Word and faith that I had written and shared. Oh, I had been through a lot of Scriptures study and life lessons that had taught me through the toughest times. But this one a few nights ago, I couldn’t think of anything, from Genesis to Revelation, that could soothe my soul-sadness. Or maybe I just wanted to dwell on it longer, feel it coursing through me and when it’s done, it will leave me spiritually stronger yet again.
My husband was sound asleep beside me (it was late). But I wanted to talk, so I tapped him gently and said, “I have something to tell you.” He stirred, but continued to sleep. I thought, “I won’t disturb him anymore. I’ll keep quiet. There’s strength in silence. When my breathing normalizes, I will have a goodnight’s sleep.” So, I closed my eyes and grasped peace in the silence. Then the Lord began to talk to me.
“Go back to the Sermon on the Mount. Read it again. And again. You’ll find answers to your questions there. You’ll find comfort there. Those are My own words and those teachings are what matter to Me, to My heart. You tend to look at the world and what it does, and some part of you wants to follow that. You still place your affections there though you say you want to follow Me. But the world’s standards are never My standards. Know Me again and My heart by going back to the Sermon on the Mount.”
I know the Sermon on the Mount. I even bought a commentary of it. And as I lay there in the dark, I thought of the verses. Oh, what a relief! What comfort! The life the Lord Jesus wants me to follow is entirely different from what I see in the world. But though I know that following Him means turning my back to the world, I forget. When I see something of the world, something other people are enjoying, I forget. Deep inside, I want to have a portion of what they are having. And that’s where the pain and sorrow come in, effects of unassuaged hunger.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mat. 5:3-10)
We always tend to think and believe that the people of the world who seem to have it all – they call it “the good life” – are the ones who are tremendously blessed. Yes, even they themselves believe that. But the Lord Jesus Christ stacks an entirely different interpretation of being BLESSED. And what He says blessed is truly blessed!
The poor in spirit, those who mourn [sorrow, grieve, suffer], the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted — these are the ones that are truly blessed! For great is their reward in heaven!
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven… (Luke 6:21-23)
And what of those whom we envy in the world?
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
For you have received your consolation.
25 Woe to you who are full,
For you shall hunger.
Woe to you who laugh now,
For you shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:24-26)
Woe to them for they have their fill. They are full in this life and may not want another. They do not want to leave this world for they hunger not for that other life. They have taken deep roots in this world. But what is a few decades here compared to eternity?
By the time my husband turned towards me and pulled me in his arms, the sadness had been lifted off.
(Photo courtesy of my good friend Jules Anne Patman of Sydney, Australia, and edited at picmonkey.com).
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