“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
How blessed do you want to be? Blessed enough to receive all that God wants to shower down upon you from heaven? Blessed enough that you will walk with confidence through the gates of heaven into the glorious presence of God? Blessed enough that you would pray for God to remove all the things in your life that get in the way of your total devotion to Him? How about blessed enough to ask the Lord to destroy all that you own on this earth so He can be glorify in what you do through the destruction? I am sorry. Did I go too far on that last question? In our human sensibility maybe I did, but in the scope of God's sensibility I was headed in the perfect direction in my line of questioning. If you read on you will understand where these questions originated as I read through the text the Lord placed before me this morning.
I can't say that asking God to destroy all we have is probably the petition any of us woke up this morning requesting from God regarding how we desired to be blessed today, but then again I don't think Job did either the morning all of this befell him:
“Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, 'The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!'
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!' While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!'
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!'
Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:
'Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.'In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:13-22
Job lost the majority of his earthly possessions in a matter of minutes, but yet he still chose to bless the name of the Lord. Not many of us know what our reaction would be if all we had were lost in a matter of minutes. But for those who have escaped with only their lives from terrible natural disasters, forceful evictions brought on my war or persecution, or other similar circumstances the reality of suffering so great a loss is understood. But where is the blessings in being brought into a place of emptiness? Hear what King David said about that very thing:
When destruction comes, it comes with a blessed side, a wide open side, a side that very few of us are given the chance to see – the broad place where only the Lord can occupy. A blessing that God gives to the few who He sees fit to give it to and to whom He knows will bring Him glory through anything they may have to endure.
I have often wondered as I have read the stories and prayed for the people I read about in the Voice of the Martyr's publication if I could withstand the types of blessings the Lord brings to those chosen people who have suffered so much for His namesake. Maybe you have too. Until we are brought to a place where we must make that kind of decision we will never know, but we can always keep praying that God make us strong enough that if that time were to ever come in our lives that we would be ready to stand firm for Him in our adversity.
If you would like to learn more about how our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering for the Lord, take some time to read current day stories about how those who are being persecuted around the world are bringing glory to God through their efforts and through their devotion to the One who has found them worthy of His greatest blessing – to be brought into the broad place of Himself. You can find the Voice of the Martyr's at this link. And then I ask you to pray for those you read about, that God may continue to strengthen them through all they are willing to do to keep spreading His love and forgiveness to even those people whose hands have brought destruction upon them.
“You are my portion, O Lord...” Psalm 119:57a
The Lord alone is our portion, and for those who have had every other portion removed from their space they understand that truth so much better than those of us who have our lives cluttered with the things of this world could ever understand. God, I pray that You may continue bringing Yourself glory through the lives you choose to bless beyond our understanding, even if someday it may be my own.