“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:1-12
What’s that you say? Blessed are the sick is not one of the Beatitudes. Are you sure? Hmmm, maybe I’m just feeling especially needy today and wanting another blessing. My body has been plagued with this year’s influenza “du jour” for the past ten days and I am, well for lack of better words, sick of it. The bug has visited every part of my body and is now considering follow-up visits. I won’t have it. Enough is enough.
A friend, not known for encouragement nor social tact, commented that this is God’s way of using me in another person’s spiritual walk. Really? Obviously, God and I need to have a talk. I can visit the sick, I can write encouragement, I can hold another’s hand in solace, I can cook a dinner, I can run errands, I can mail a cute ‘get well’ card. But, I don’t see the benefit of puking for God.
“Son, you have so much to learn from me.”
“Who else talks to you in your hour of need?”
Nowhere in Matthew 5: 1-12 does it say, “Blessed are the hale and hearty, the fit and healthy.” Each of the Beatitudes bestows a blessing on the weak and needy because it is there in that weakness, need, and abject powerlessness, that our Father can meet us and use us to further his work in our kingdoms. When I become absolutely incapable of controlling my body and my affairs is the time when Jesus can nominate another of his followers to step in and become a dispenser for his tender mercies.
That is one the most difficult parts of recovery. We have learned to love with patience and compassion, but allowing ourselves to be loved with patience and compassion is a challenge. Allowing our weakness and sickness to be a tool in another’s faith walk is not part of the ego’s game plan.
The great mystics speak of the need to give up the gaze upon the heavens for guidance and direction, but rather to descend into the masses of suffering and despair to discover the essence of a Savior. Religion often tells us to look up. Jesus teaches us to redirect our attentions downward where humanity suffers because that’s where He exists.