Early January this year, and a new start. It was a reasonable challenge thrown out to us by our Pastor in the Sunday morning service: to pray through the short passage of Matthew 5 in the Bible, reading the Sermon on the Mount, and see what verse God would speak to us about personally. This portion of Scripture is called the Beatitudes, which mean, “Extreme blessedness or happiness.”
I caught the challenge, tucked it safely in my shirt pocket and headed home to read the verses as I had done many times before over my lifetime. Verses that role off the tongue so easily. This time I prayed a simple prayer as I slowly read Jesus’ powerful words to the people on the hillside in Galilee. “Lord, what would you have me understand through these verses?”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, those that mourn, and so on.” The depth of sadness in those words, poor, mourn … impacted me as usual. How we all can relate to them in everyday life as did those people sitting and listening to Jesus two thousand years ago.
I read them over again and one verse quietly began to play on my mind. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5, verse 6). I began to realise God was showing me that years of quiet struggle and grief was actually a deep hunger and thirst for righteousness. He reminded me that His filling, filling, filling was also replacing, replacing, replacing until the outcome should be total filling with Christ and all replaced by Christ. Sanctification I guess. What I thought was continued grief over sin and failure, a deep sadness of coming up short every time, was now actually hungering and thirsting for what was much better.
I cannot quite remember where I heard it; but it’s like walking in mud in gumboots. Walking through deep mud and getting the gumboots stuck and when trying to pull one leg out, only the foot and sock come out! We either end up with muddy socks and lost gumboots or fall flat on our face in the mud! But Jesus said the word, “Blessed!” Can you believe that! Blessed are those that attempt to walk in the mud in gumboots to protect their socks and feet. Blessed are they that move forward, trying not to stay and sink. Blessed are they that get muddy socks, lose their boots, fall on their face. Even blessed are they that walk in the mud barefoot, or in socks for fun. Best of all, blessed are they that cry out to Him for help and are sucked out, albeit somewhat worse for wear. But not blessed because we wallowed in the muck then chose to stay there. Blessed by love!
Can’t say my theology is too good, Huck Finn, but I have a picture of laughing all the way home!