Magic of the Heavens

(written June 12, 2012 with editing input by H.L. Snead)

Up above the world I hang,
suspended in the air,
Peeking out the window
at all the colors there:

Checkered fields like calico cats
and floating cotton balls,
wisps of cloud like mermaid’s hair
I see from within these airplane walls.

Winding rivers and county roads
act as serpents and lazy snakes;
herds of hippos, white and soft,
vanish from their fluffy lakes.

Trees are stippled by His hand,
for this is His own magical land!

Beatitudes: the Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

~Matthew 5:3

Jesus here is encouraging those who are poor, and not just any poor, but the poor in spirit. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? Is it to be lacking the Holy Spirit? Is it to be weak in spirit? Is it to be troubled in spirit?

Poor in spirit — it’s an interesting phrase. It can be confusing to try and understand what this means, but I think separating the two words will help. Poor. Being poor means lacking something. It could mean lacking material things, though I don’t think Jesus meant this. It could also mean being weak, such as if I was a poor soccer player. This may be more what Jesus was after. Thinking about the kinds of people Jesus hung out with and sought, this seems more accurate. Spirit. This one can be more confusing, depending on how you look at it. Spirit usually is related to the heart or the will. This means that it is very connected to volition, or the will to do things. Volition involves both freedom and creativity. Our volition is how we organize our life — around God or not.

Putting these two words together, I see a beautiful picture of what Jesus probably had in mind. He wants those of us who are weak and cannot do it on our own (ALL of us!), those of us who are poor in the area of volition — we don’t do what we want to do and we do what we don’t want to do! — to come to Him. Once we recognize that we ARE indeed poor in spirit (everyone is, but most try to deny that they are), we are blessed, for it is then that we seek His purposes and His kingdom first. That is why Jesus says that the poor in spirit have the kingdom of heaven — because they submit their own will to Christ’s and do His work.

Beatitudes: Those Who Mourn

“Blessed are those who mourn,¬†for they will be comforted.” ~ Matthew 5:4

Well, this one seems pretty straight-forward. When you mourn, God will comfort you. As I was pondering this earlier today, I thought, ‘What else can I say about this? Is there a point in meditating upon this one?’ And Abba has showed me just how important this one is this week. I’ve been going through some things the past couple months that are very painful — friendships don’t always last forever or turn out the way we think they will. People do not always act or react in ways that are wise or God-honoring — in fact, we often don’t because we are fallen human beings! I have been feeling particularly lonely lately, not just because of losing friendships, I’m coming to realize, but because Abba wants to teach me truths about Himself. He wants to teach me to rest in Him. He wants to teach me that He is the ultimate Friend; He is the ultimate Lover; He is the ultimate Source of relationship and support that anyone can have. Every human being will fail me at some point or another, but God NEVER will. He is ALWAYS here with me and for me, whether I can feel Him or not. This is part of what He means by comforting those who mourn.

Mourning — losing friendships, losing loved ones to death or distance, wishing we had back a past circumstance or opportunity, letting our dreams die in order to follow Abba wholly — these are all ways we mourn because we are human beings. We even mourn our own selves because of loss of youth or memory or abilities to do things we used to be good at or failure. There are many things in this world that we can (and often should) mourn. Jesus does NOT say “Do not mourn.” In fact, He asserts the opposite! He says, “Blessed ARE you when you mourn.” He encourages us to mourn, for in our mourning He will bring healing. He will bring comfort. He will bring about redemption. He will bring His joy. He will be our strength. We only have to bring Him ourselves and lay at His feet the pain, longings, hurt, and sorrow that reside in the deepest part of our hearts. When we accept the pain as real and do not try to reject it or ignore it, it is then that God can work through it to bring us healing. His healing doesn’t mean that the pain will necessarily go away; in fact, sometimes He increases the sorrow we feel to breed compassion in our hearts for others. I encourage you, just as Abba is whispering in my soul, to not seek the life without pain. That life will not come in this world, broken and fallen as it is. However I DO encourage you to seek the Good Life, the joyful life. The Good Life may be filled with much pain. It may be excruciating. People may think us crazy for seeking God’s Good Life rather than the pleasure-filled life of the world. Don’t be deceived. Though the road of the blessed is difficult and narrow, God assures us that He will walk it with us and He will comfort us in those deepest, darkest moments of pain and sorrow. He promises us LIFE to come that will be so much greater and more beautiful than anything we have now that this pain will seem like the blink of an eye, a fleeting shadow. Don’t pass up Eternal Joy with our King for the temporary pleasures this world offers. Stay with the pain and offer it to Jesus, moment by moment. And don’t give up! He will bless you for persevering.

September 7, 2011

Give me purpose; give me grace.
Give me peace; let me see Your face.
Show me how to reach outside
myself, beyond the pain locked inside.
Pull me out of this hole I’m in
so I can experience joy again.
Help me focus and persevere,
to be a light in the blackness here.
Help me be an example of love,
a mirror of You in Heaven above.

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