“According to Jesus, the state of being blessed . . . is a promise of the experience of supernatural joy in the midst of suffering, of God’s presence in the midst of pain, and of the hope that one day, we’ll experience blessing in full when God’s kingdom comes.”- Tina Boesch
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”- Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
Tina Boesch concludes Chapter 6 of Given as she cautions not to interpret the Beatitudes as if’/then statements. Because reading the Beatitudes in that way transforms them. As a result, they turn into a set of acts and attitudes that earn us future blessing.
Instead, as Martin Luther stressed, Jesus paints a portrait of existence in the world that’s only possible if we already exist in a state of grace. In that state of grace we’re already rightly related to God as well as filled with His Spirit.
Therefore, when Jesus says Blessed are those who mourn, He isn’t saying that mourning is blessing. Or that despair equates with happiness. Tina explains:
“Jesus is saying that if you understand who he is, then your mourning is blessing because he’s here with you in it. He’s saying you are blessed because you aren’t left alone in grief. God has returned. He is with you. Sorrow isn’t blessing, but the healing presence of the Lord in the midst of sorrow is a profound blessing (emphasis author’s).”
Finally, Tina notes, the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once remarked that both Mary and Abraham became greater than a heroine or hero. They transcended such status not because God exempted them from distress, torment, and paradox. Rather, They became great through these things.”
Thus, we must first learn to receive blessing before we can give blessing.
Today’s question: What Bible verses help you experience supernatural joy in the midst of suffering? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Affirming God’s control, sustaining grace”