More than blessing, the year has seemed to be just as much about crushing, as in the “Cornerstone” falling on me, grinding me to powder spiritually. In many ways, I know better but that doesn’t make this season less painful. Yet as well, given that the Father wastes no pain, this season of growth holds great promise and with that grace to deliver, even while being “blessed.”
My delight and encouragement during this time has been watching others much younger step up for the transfer of a mantle of ministry to cities. My own church, not to speak of my own daughter (what a blessing it has been to see her live into her own dream of serving children, even guarding those dreams prayerfully when spiritual assault becomes evident), seems to be arising to this vision, now thirty two years in the making for me personally, and probably much older than my own lifetime? In fact, I’m sure of that.
Amid all this chaos (the preliminary necessity for transformation) has been a growing awareness of where America is, the timeliness of my book publishing last year and a personal revitalization of my own purpose and calling.
That’s where the Beatitudes come in. In fact, even before I entered the book of Matthew, as a part of my annual journey from Genesis to Revelation, I was struck by the blank page provided by the publisher in the NIV Bible that I have been using for over five years. Somehow in my previous devotional transitions from Old to New Testament this “white space” went unnoticed. However, this time in parallel with my readings about Bonhoeffer’s Germany, the correlations with our post-Christian America, the ethical challenges emerging with local Bio-tech breakthroughs (see previous entries) and my recent Aha’s about the resurrection offered from NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope, the thought of a future spent as passionately as my past…in fact, the thought of a blank page yet to be written, was exhilarating.
My eyes found respite in the blank page on July 30,2010 and then promise again as I “re-revelated” through the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.
- Poor in Spirit…a necessary brokenness;
- Mourning…grieved by a stumbling culture;
- Meek…restrained for the sake of His timing;
- Hunger and thirst for righteousness…vs. a desire for gain in this world;
- Pure in heart…holding nothing back for one’s self;
- Peacemakers…going into “places” even conflicts, that you don’t “have to” go, for others’ sake;
- Persecuted…your very life arouses the enemy… as it brings His Kingdom to this earth;
- One’s life should leave no recourse, possibly even demand insult (Matt. 5:11) from those whom your presence calls out prophetically.
Rejoice…be blessed, though not necessarily prosperous, nor always happy! Just a thought.