I’ve heard the word blessed used recently with reckless abandon. What does it mean to be blessed? Surely it doesn’t mean what some of those televangelists say—that you are blessed if God gives you financial prosperity. Think about the beatitudes that Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount. Did Jesus promise you a Mercedes Benz and a color TV? (My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.) Did he promise you heaven in addition to health and happiness on earth? Nope, sorry, not part of the promise.
I needed to be reminded that—in spite of my grief—I am blessed, that I will find comfort in both the presence of God and the support of the people God has put in my life. Then I realized that perhaps I am not blessed in spite of the grief, but I am blessed in the grief itself. In a song entitled Blessings, songwriter Laura Story wrote, “The trials of this life are your mercies in disguise.” When we can trust the hand of God in the hard times is when faith grows. It’s easy to love and trust God in easy times. Then God is like a good-time Charlie whom we praise when things are going right and curse when we think He has failed us. I want to trust that God is with me and has blessed me in the joys of my life, but also in the sorrows. It is in the sorrows that we grow, that we learn to rely on His inscrutable plan, and when we go to Him for comfort. He doesn’t send us sorrows and hang us out to drown in our misery. He sends support in the arms of people who hold us and cry with us. He sends others in our churches and our communities to pray for us and He sent His own words to reassure us:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)