A reflection on Luke 6.17,20-26
How hard it is to see our suffering as a blessing!
In our lives we do not look for suffering; good health is preferred to sickness, joy is more acceptable than sorrow, success is more desired than failure, and riches more cherished than poverty!
But Jesus’ measurement for blessedness are things so detestable by our standards; poverty, hunger, grieving and sorrowing, and being hated, despised, and excluded.
So, why these situations and states in order for us to blessed? Why suffering? Why poverty? Why hunger? Why exclusion? I believe the simple answer would be because these all bring us to a profound need, a need for God and for total reliance on Him.
But it is hard to be faithful! There are so many comforts and temptations that distract us and pull us away from God and the path of blessedness. It is kind of like a tug-of-war, with the world as our opponent. It is impossible for us to pull and to resist on our own. We need God pulling with us, for us! He has actually already won the “tug-of-war” so we just really need to let go, fall on our knees, and acknowledge our need for Him.
“Blessed the one who trusts in the Lord”– Psalm 1 (response)
We will face hardships, temptations, and struggles in this life. We will have the desire to escape into comforts, but we need to remember that we can not face these on our own.
Trust in the Lord with all that you are!
Go to Him and ask Him for help and strength!
And in time you will see the blessedness of suffering as the way of drawing ever closer to him.
Praise the Lord for opportunities to grow more in need of Him and to draw closer to Him; that poverty has become a sure path to eternal riches, hunger has created a way to eternal satisfaction, sorrow and grief have become paths leading to eternal joy, and that rejection has paved the way to an acceptance into an eternity in love.
Jesus is waiting for you today, so come to Him hungry and empty.
Come and allow, not the world but, Jesus to fill you by the power of the Holy Spirit!
I felt so inspired to share this reflection, after sharing it at our Liturgy last Sunday, because this suffering really speaks to us in a very personal way as we have struggled through these past 2 years among so much adversity, all exascerbated with the challenges faced during a pandemic. At times we have felt so low, but it has been prayer, a dependance on God, and the support & encouragement we have received from so many family, friends, and clergy that has carried us. To put it in a nutshell, this passage from Luke(v.21-22 particularly) has almost completely related to our situation and speaks deeply to our hearts.
We have been asked by quite a few people lately, perhaps because we are all out in “public” with things opening up more and people gathering again (as we had a funeral service for an elder earlier this week), “how much longer are you staying?” And we feel as if people are really saying, “why are you still here? With everything that has happened and the church coming to the forefront of controversy with residential schools, shouldn’t you be somewhere else? Wouldn’t it be easier to go home and be with your families?”
So through it all we have been reminded this week, “We love because he first loved us.” Wherever we are, wherever He puts us and calls us to be, it is Gods love that we sink in to, that we accommodate to permeate our hearts, and that we seek to share by first loving those closest to us(our children and each other); allowing His love to shine forth from our hearts as a beacon of hope to all. And, as we heard recently from another person: “I hope you guys grow old here!”