It was a simple comment, a heartbreaking one. A friend was passing on a prayer request for her friend, who lost her husband suddenly to a heart attack. She ended her note with the comment that the whole situation, makes me realize how blessed I am.
Of course, when someone you know is going to sleep as a widow, while you are still able to roll over and cling to the man you love, yes, you are going to cling harder, feel deeper, perhaps even feel more blessed than you did the night before.
But my heart bristled a tad at the concept. If I am blessed to still have my husband, does that mean the widow is somehow less blessed? Is she cursed? Did she fall out of favor with God? Good enough to be blessed on Monday, but then crossed off by Tuesday?
Okay, so that’s a little laughable, and I don’t think that this was the intent in her note at all. Still, it rubbed me, when I considered how someone who doesn’t know God, or someone who might believe, but not yet understand why or in whom, how they might interpret such a comment on blessings.
Because the long and short of is: Circumstances, bad ones (suck your breath from your stomach, drop you to your knees, terrible, awful, how will you ever move on, type circumstances), happen. They do.
But, and I’m no theologian here, I tend to think that God is not above you, watching the hurt rain down on your life and shaking his finger at how you should have somehow been better. Rather the opposite, I see him there in the muck with you, alongside you for the length of the storm. He’s all about you, the Bible is essentially a love story to you.
(And I’m talking real love, not the simple, warm and fuzzy, while it’s convenient for me and convenient for you brand that’s more popular in our culture. When was the last time you met someone who offered to sacrifice their own child for you to be forever saved?)
The God that I’m raising my children to understand, the God that I know, is more than a Santa type figure, sitting far away with a list in each hand, divvying out blessings and misfortune accordingly.
The God I’m raising my children to understand is a God of compassion who wants to bless you through relationship with him, a God who sees the broken and who blesses the meek and the humble and the poor in spirit.
Blesses how? With earthly treasures? With nice houses, smooth running cars, bank accounts that never suffer and children that never talk back? With husbands who live to walk with us hand in hand into our golden years?
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
If there’s a kingdom worth waiting for, if there’s a relationship worth clinging to on the nights when your heart is breaking, when the bed is half empty, this is the one.
Lord, I don’t even know this woman who lost her husband, I don’t know her name, never saw her face, but you know her heart and her sorrow. Please rain down on her, surround her, fill her, with a peace that surpasses understanding, that she might feel blessed, even now.