What does it mean to be blessed? When we pray blessings on others and over ourselves what exactly are we praying for?
When I think of the word “blessed”, I am filled with warm fuzzies and glimpses of life being as I imagined it would be. All the people I love the most around me. Everyone is getting along. No tension. No brokenness. No hang ups, bruises or heartache.
When I think of “blessed” I think of laughter and provisions. I think of tables of feasting food. I think I have ample time to spend time doing the things that bring me joy like walking along the beach, soaking in the sun, running and exploring. I think of success.
When I think of “blessed” I think of serene and peaceful days like a gentle breeze along the sea.
But is that truly what it means to be blessed, that everything goes my way, always? Does being blessed mean that I am never in a state of need? Does being blessed mean that I am never hurting or sad?
In my days of “having everything I want” and life going my way, I did not recognize my desperate need for God. I did not hunger and thirst after him.
The last year has proven a different experience all together. In fact, my experience has proved the opposite, the blessedness I have experienced has come as a result of surrender, of hardship and of pain. Blessings have come through recognizing my unquenchable need for God.
This week on Cup of Hope we are studying the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5. They are part of Jesus’ most famous message, the Sermon on the Mount. Part of this message, known as The Beatitudes, provides a framework for what can be expected when choosing to as a follower of Christ.
The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12 are as follows:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The Beatitudes seem to go against our natural inclinations. It doesn’t seem in our power hungry and cushy world that meekness, and mourning, mercy and peacemaking are qualities that are desirable.
But in God’s ultimate wisdom and infinite understanding he knows what is best and what it truly means to be blessed.
God in his wisdom knows that when we are mourning we recognize our need for him. In fact many days seem as though we couldn’t make it through without his strength picking up one foot in front of the other.
Blessings come when we live at the foot of the cross. Blessings come when we live fully immersed and experiencing the greatest gift we could ever be given, the gift of the presence of our heavenly father.
Whatever in our life that leads us closer to God is worth it. Whatever sends us to our knees in prayer. Whatever causes us to cry out to God admitting, “I need you God!”, it is worth it.
The pain, the hurt, the heartache, the grief, the mourning, the sadness, the disappointment, the separation from the world and the persecution, it is all worth it.
It is worth it because there is nothing that the world has to offer that can even come close to living connected to God.
When we pray blessings over ourselves and over those we love and care about, we need to recognize that the ultimate vlessing is whatever causes us or those we are praying for to be drawn into a deeper relationship with Christ.
It is in relationship with Christ that we are truly blessed.
Christian singer/songwriter, Laura Story’s song, Blessings, emphasizes blessings that come through the difficulties of life. She penned,
“We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.”
Blessings come out of those very circumstances that cause us to press into a deeper relationship with God!
Will you join me this week on Cup of Hope to dig into each Beatitude this week and next, @ 6:45am CST on Facebook Live, or the replay on YouTube @stephaniewinslowcupofhope?
Join me, and let’s learn and explore together the the true meaning of what it means to be blessed.
I am blessed with health to pray for those with covid, to make and socially distance, deliver soup to help those with pneumonia covid. I am blessed to have the Lord wake me to intercede for others. I pray the breath of God to blow over the earth to expel this covid virus out to parts unknown.