I read today that pain is the touchstone of all spiritual progress! I don't want to believe the Beatitudes sometimes...that God's blessings are on those who mourn and who are lowly and persecuted and poor and poor in spirit (what one of my pastors called "begging on the inside"). I don't want to have to walk that path to get there. I tell God that I have walked that path enough and it's time for the party!!
Sometimes I want to prove that if I had wealth and good health and, and and...that I could work it just fine, thank you. That would make me feel precious and I would have the means to live that wild, carefree life like those birds Jesus references in Matthew 6! Yea, I wouldn't have to worry about whether there's enough for food AND bills and if my daughter's asthma is flared up and we need to get her to a specialist now.
So last night my husband looked up the word used here (He knows Greek and is such a help with these things!) and Blessed/ Happy is fortunate/lucky!!! We had to talk about that and think a long while. The key word in all those beatitudes is in the middle "for".
"Blessed are the poor in spirit (also in v10--those who are persecuted because of following Jesus) for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them."
"Blessed are the meek (humble, gentle and lowly) for the whole earth will belong to them"
I am to be happy about this/consider myself fortunate because the reward in the end is HUGE. We may not be rewarded financially now or have the Stuff that would be pretty and fun, or even have the jobs that give us that spiritual status here people can see...the jobs we want...any job at all in my husband's case, despite 100s of applications! But God keeps us fed and sheltered and clothed, just like those birds. Anxiety has all been about fear of the what if...? and just as Jesus said, it hasn't added anything to our lives! I can let it go because I and we are Precious to God. precious, treasured, cherished, and He Will Not Let Me Go! The Kingdom of heaven will be give to those of us who know our powerlessness and poverty and absolute need for God!
...and this is the WILD part: in this life with sadness, injustice for the poor, poverty and my total need to be dependent on God, I absolutely get to be happy about my dependence, and free of worry, free to be merciful, free to work for peace, for justice for the poor, free to be mocked, even persecuted for these Jesus values, free to be one of the poor...ANd KNOW that I am more than ok!! This world is not the end game or even the best reward. That comes in the next life. It is upside down. It doesn't fit our society's norms or values at all. It doesn't fit with the current notions of the "lazy poor" or "letting the market take care of it"...it doesn't fit with the American INDEPENDENT value that says those who depend for anything on others are a burden and far less than and worthless and undeserving. Jesus told us that we are to see differently.
We are working on that. I am here writing and thinking it through at the same time, glad for these 31 days of challenge to write on this one subject.