The last few weeks have been really draining for my wife and I. Nothing as dramatic and life-altering as some of you dear friends are experiencing lately, and I humbly acknowledge this. Nevertheless, they have been a bit wearying, as we both have been attending to a host of small responsibilities and issues that have nibbled at the edges of our physical and emotional energy like hungry little fish. It reached a breaking point this week, as both my wife and I had days where we just broke down in tears.
Last night was my turn, as I lay on top of the bedspread and just wept, recounting for my wife the litany of weights and responsibilities I feel like I’ve been carrying around in my pack for months. The irony is, I know exactly what I would say to a brother who came to me with this same list of concerns: “Dude, believe the Gospel and walk in that truth!” Thankfully, I have a godly wife who loves me and will press the Gospel into the broken and fearful places in my heart.
I’m still fighting off the fear of failure, of letting down the people in my life who depend on me to be wise and capable and dependable. I’m still uncertain of what decisions to make in the next 6 months, decisions that will affect my family’s financial and spiritual life. I’m still worried about losing focus and breaking my commitments to financial and physical discipline. And I’m still struggling to find spiritual refreshment after being dry and withering in soul for the last few weeks, as all my time in the Word of God has been spent in preparation to teach. (This is a destructive habit I am ALWAYS in danger of falling back into.)
Providentially, the subject matter of my studies lately has been the Sermon on the Mount. This means that over and over, I’ve been thinking over the first words Jesus spoke in that sermon: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Over and over, this verse has popped up in my study, in my lesson outlines, in my encouragements to others. Yesterday, it finally dawned on me that I really need to apply it to my own heart right now.
In the midst of spiritual dryness, in the midst of fearful worry about not being “enough” to take care of what God has given me, in the midst of recognition that I need to grow in my marriage (more on this later), this verse stands as a comfort and a command. It’s too bad that I’m often too proud or too busy to remember it until God has seen fit to lay me flat on my back, crying on my bed.
So now, I’m going back to the start, returning to my first love. Today, I’m reminding myself that I am secure in Christ, and that my God is sovereign over all the details of my life and will provide everything I need to serve Him and others in all the ways He has given me to do so. I need to keep reminding myself of it. I’ve fallen out of the habit of preaching the Gospel to myself. When that happens, I forget that it still applies to me, that I’m still poor in spirit and wholly dependent on God for my life.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. You who recognize that you are busted, broken, empty, incomplete, insufficient–you are blessed. You who are weeping and weary, too tired to think straight, too frustrated to know what to do next–you are blessed. You sinners who have finally come to your senses in the pig-sty and realize that you have scorned the love and provision of your gracious Father–you are blessed.
Because it is only at this point that we can be filled. It’s only at this point that we are able to receive the Kingdom, graciously provided by our Shepherd-King who is a friend of sinners, a Man of Sorrows acquainted with grief.
Christian, repent and believe the Gospel. You still need it every day. I still need it every day. It’s still Good News for us.