This is for the weary, the worn. This is for the one who has drained the cup and still thirsts, for the one who has dug pennies from between the couch cushions still comes up short. It is for the exhausted, the uncertain, the one stalked by fear of being the wrong person for the task. It is for the one covered in the dust of all those surpassing you in all the ways that count.
But this is also for the one assured of his capability. It is for the one soaring high on measurable success and accolades. It is for the one whose ears ring with praise from the loudest voices and for the one building a glorious house of self-worth on the sands of approval, triumph, and acclaim.
Blessed are you when you are poor in spirit. Congrats when you don’t have it all together, when you are teetering on the edge of falling to bits. You are, in fact, flourishing when you don’t have all you need, when you are a day late and a dollar short. Blessed are you when you don’t have it all together because, in that very moment, God pulls out a chair for you at the dining room table and fixes you a plate.
Blessed are you when you mourn. Congratulations when you have eyes to see the brokenness and pain around you. How blessed you are when you are honest about the part you have played in that brokenness, and when you grieve in repentance. Congrats when your heart is devastated by loss beyond what you can bear. You are flourishing because, even now as you sit in the tattered rags of grief, God is stitching you back together.
Blessed are you when you are meek. Congrats when you are lowly. You are flourishing when you don’t toot your own horn but instead are content to be quietly faithful without the fanfare. Blessed are you when you press back against the kingdoms of this world by which we are programmed to prove our worthiness to exist at every turn by our success, our position, our wealth, our wins, instead of following the humble path of Jesus.
Blessed are you when you hunger and thirst for righteousness. Congrats when you are starving to death for the feast of new creation, when you are parched for the nectar of God’s healing of this broken world. You are flourishing when you don’t have a belly stuffed with privilege but instead leave room to hunger after justice, reconciliation, and peace. How blessed you are because God will fill you up, setting a feast before us all. You are flourishing when you hunger after the right things—righteousness and mercy, healing and deliverance—that only God can give.
Blessed are the merciful. Congrats when you extend to others the mercy and grace you are eager to receive. You are flourishing when you reject vengeance and abandon resentment. You are flourishing when lay aside bitterness. Congrats because God is lavishing mercy upon you.
Blessed are the pure in heart. Congratulations! You are flourishing when your inside matches your outside. How blessed you are when you are not satisfied with merely doing good things but when you allow God to make you good from the inside out. You are flourishing when, out of the overflow of your heart, your life gives evidence of Jesus.
Blessed are the peacemakers. Congratulations when you reject violence of word and deed. You are flourishing when you choose forgiveness over revenge or hate. You are blessed when you acknowledge your responsibility in a damaged relationship and humble yourself to make it right. You are flourishing when you resist the temptation to be dismissive, when you extend compassion instead of retribution. How blessed you are because you are a child of God. In your peacemaking, you bear the family resemblance.
Blessed are you when you are persecuted, reviled, and lied about because of Jesus. Congratulations when people believe the worst about you. Congratulations when people misrepresent you, when they call you names, when they label you or speak cruelly to you because of your devotion to Jesus. You are flourishing when you are belittled for trying to be faithful, mocked for rejecting cultural norms, demeaned for preaching the gospel. How blessed you are when you are ridiculed because you refuse to float aimlessly in shallow, spiritual niceties and instead dig into biblical truth and justice. How blessed you are because you know where your true citizenship lies: the kingdom of God.
Congratulations! You are blessed. You are flourishing in all the ways that matter. And this is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God.