by Susie Crosby
adj: enjoying happiness; favored, privileged, fortunate
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope…” Matthew 5:3 MSG
Religious-sounding words make me cringe sometimes. Maybe it’s because they get overused, or can seem insincere. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t understood their true meaning.
Blessed has been one of these awkward words for me.
Everything in me feels weird when I say or hear or read words like this. I can’t help it.
Years ago, I impulsively bought a beautifully framed wooded sign that states: “We are so blessed.” It fits beautifully above our dining room mirror and works with the decor. But I can’t look at it without an uncomfortable feeling–wondering if it comes across as prideful or self-righteous or possibly inauthentic to people who visit.
But Jesus said, Blessed.” Many times, in the Beatitudes part of the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew. The upside-down truths that He shared that day surprised the crowd and brought them to cheers. They make me want to know more about what Jesus meant when He used this word.
When Jesus spoke on that hillside, He said we are blessed when we’re at the end of our rope, blessed when we’ve lost what is most dear to us, blessed when we are humbled, blessed when we have worked up a good appetite for God, blessed when we care for others, blessed when our hearts are pure, blessed when we work for peace, and blessed when we are left out and lied about–mistreated for doing what is right.
When Jesus calls us blessed in the midst of suffering or working or trying to do good, it doesn’t sound contrived or fake. And it doesn’t sound like pride. It sounds like he’s giving us something we desperately need but cannot earn.
Beatitude: a feeling or state of well-being and contentment; blissfulness, gladness, joy.
Maybe it means taken care of. Not simply happy or lucky, but attended to and held close by God Himself–our loving Father, by Jesus–our savior and friend, and by the Holy Spirit–our strength and comfort.
Every Sunday at the end of the church service, our pastor prays this blessing over us that God gave Moses and Aaron to bless the Israelites:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine on you
And be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you
And give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
If it means that God will keep us, make his face shine on us, be gracious to us, turn his attention to us, and give us his peace; then maybe “bless you,” isn’t such an awkward thing to say after all.
Sit with Jesus on your own hillside for a moment. If you are at the end of your rope, look into His eyes. Invite Him in. Let Him bless you with His attention, His peace, His strength, and His grace for the struggle you face. He sees you, He knows you, and He will honor and take precious care of your heart for Him.
This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Susie is a grateful mom of two (almost) grown boys who currently live and go to school in Honolulu, Hawaii. She and her husband live in a seaside town in the Puget Sound region called Mukilteo. They love to hike and kayak, they are huge Seattle sports fans, and they mostly love hanging out at home with their little dog Koko. Susie teaches P.E., Art, Technology, and Music at an all-kindergarten school which keeps her busy full time. Her passion and joy is sharing encouraging words with the people she loves. She is an active blogger and speaker, and she is the author of Just One Word: 90 Devotions to Invite Jesus In. She is always on the lookout for fun coffee shops, inspiring books, remote beaches, and farmers’ markets. Connect with Susie at www.susiecrosby.com.
Join the conversation: How has God blessed you recently?