THE GREAT HAPPINESS OF A TOUGH EXPERIENCE
L’chaim! This is a traditional Jewish toast or blessing when a couple gets engaged. They lift a glass and utter ‘L’chaim’ which means ‘to life’.
It is a social custom repeated in many cultures whereby the desire is stated that those involved would experience the blessing of God. Blessings are pronounced over the birth of children, new partnerships, etc.
To invite or proclaim a blessing over someone is an invitation for our world to be aligned with Heaven’s intentions.
Dr. Ephraim Radner says, ‘Blessing is primarily the act of God in creating life, sustaining it, and extending or propagating it. By contrast, the notion of “cursing” (qalal) seems to imply “thinning out” reality, making it light and superfluous, and finally lifeless.’
When we were children praying at bedtime, we were taught to pray like this: “God bless mommy and daddy, grandpa and grandma and all my brothers and sisters.”
But what exactly did we mean? Our childish understanding may have been that we wanted them all to be happy and safe. But, what is a more mature understanding of being blessed?
In the Beatitudes, Jesus ties the idea of blessing to the least desirable experiences of our life. The toughest things may make your life thicker and more robust. That which was intended to diminish you becomes a platform for your spiritual formation.
He says you are blessed (coming to life, experiencing growth) if you are:
- · Being humiliated
- · Mourning
- · Gentle and submissive
- · Longing for things to be made right
- · In situations that you can show mercy to someone
- · Unpolluted in your heart
- · Finding ways to make peace in conflict situations
- · Getting in trouble for following Jesus
Is this how you pictured success? Did you think that living life to the fullest included so much suffering and challenge?
If we are to follow the example of Jesus, we realize that we are paying a price for a much greater treasure than a life of ease would give us. For every difficulty you go through, there is a way that God wants to prepare you for a life that is fuller and more abundant.
God wants to give you a fat soul. There are an awful lot of people with skinny, undernourished, frail souls. A blessed soul is fat and healthy.
When Jesus said he came to give abundant life, we need to understand that he is speaking about making us more alive, not less. That includes having more emotional range, not less. We are being groomed for the maturity of a peace-filled life.
If you go through these hard times surrendering to God, the blessing on your life will include:
- · Citizenship and partnership with God’s domain ‘Heaven’
- · Having comfort given to you instead of having to get it by yourself
- · Inheriting the planet. You will be given opportunity to do something good with the world and the people in it
- · The fulfilment that comes from things being put right in you
- · God and others extending great mercy and understanding toward you even when you have really blown it
- · Having an intimate experience of God
- · Being known as someone who exemplifies what a child of God is like
- · The assurance that these troubles are not permanent and you are moving forward into an eternal future with God
 Matthew 5:1-12