Posted by: Darrell Johnson | July 25, 2009

oh the bliss…

“In love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.”
— Thorton Wilder

Matthew 5:3 tells us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Now when we read the beatitudes, we may look at them and say, “ok, this is good stuff” (after all it is the ‘Good News’); but have you ever wondered what “blessed” means? Well, now since you’re curious I’ll continue…when we read the word “blessed” we are reading what is derived from the original Greek as “oh the bliss.”

Oh the bliss to be poor in spirit, we don’t only read these words but we are destined to experience times of being poor in spirit and to then recognize the “bliss” that comes along with being in such a state. After all, when we look to the cross and remember what it is our Lord and Savior did for us we can truly refer to hard times as blissful. It’s those hard times that bring us back to the cross, that break our hearts, that lead us to being poor of spirit…it’s humiliating. Day after day we come across folks who find themselves in humiliating situations/circumstances and day after day we see the opportunity to share the Gospel with these folks, who some would consider as being “the least of these.” Whether it be by word or deed, it’s our hearts that are out there for people to see and I pray that our hearts recognize that it’s blissful to be poor in spirit…it brings us back to the Lord. Whether you’re upper class or urban poor, homeless or a real estate mogul, we’re all invited to experience and get lost in the mystery that is the compassion of Jesus Christ.

OH THE BLISS!!! to go through hard times, OH THE BLISS!!! to humble ourselves before the Lord, OH THE BLISS!!! to accept acceptance, OH THE BLISS!!! to let the Lord reign over in our lives and take control. Oh the bliss.

This blog began with a quote by Thorton Wilder, “In love’s service, only wounded soliders can serve.” What wilder is getting at is this: had we not been wounded by the world and the circumstances of living in a fallen place, then we would have never, earnestly sought out the love of Christ to transform our lives (no matter what those circumstances may be). When we surrender our lives to the Lord and call him Abba, Father we are  acknowledging our wounds. No longer are we ignoring that their is pain and a sense of hopelessness in our lives, instead we are humbling ourselves before an all-mighty God and putting our trust in Him. To serve the Lord, is not to be invincible or unbreakable , no it’s quite the contrary. After all, we are broken down and at times poor in spirit and that’s why we are in need of a Savior. You won’t find a follower of Christ who has it all together and that’s a fact.

In his book, “Lion & Lamb: The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus,” Brennan Manning refers to the poor in spirit as being “shipwrecked.” Like being on a boat at sea that getting tossed all about by life’s trials and tribulations, eventually we can  go overboard and the need for rescue is more prevalent than ever. The people that the Lord has put in my life here at the shelter are no more prone to being “shipwrecked” than I or any of the other HOPE team members for that matter. And as sure as we’re all subject to being shipwrecked, we’re all subject to the grace and peace that is only found in the love of Christ. So if ever you ask yourself or feel like you’re shipwrecked…think about this quote:

“The shipwrecked don’t seek peace because they aren’t disturbed by the lack of it…Circumstances can play havoc with our emotions, the day can be stormy or fair and our feelings will fluctuate accordingly; but if we are in Christ Jesus, we are in peace and therefore unflustered even when we feel no peace.”
—Brennan Manning

Oh the bliss…to be poor in spirit.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:6-7

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”
—Nahum 1:7

OH LORD, guide us all.
-Amen

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