Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. — Matthew 5:5
The endless gray sky feels forever like 11 o’clock in the morning . . . no sun to guide and you must check your watch to remind you of the passing of the hours.
Night ebbs slow. Day is a fading in and out of light. Artless.
I feel it in the heavy winter gloom. I see it in faces. Touch it in names. And it’s there on bitter pages. The year I was angry with God.
I’ve come upon it unexpectedly again in the third beatitude. Blessed are the meek.
Stretch out my life, and pick the seams out*
In the weeks our life was coming apart, another family in our church was walking through the worst trial I could imagine. Far worse than mine.
Their four year old daughter had had another in a series of surgeries to repair her heart. Her recovery was long and tenuous.
They graciously shared their home with us when we lost ours. In their home, walls covered with their faces, my prayers intensified for this beautiful family. Prayers for us. Prayers for them. Prayers for healing. For her. For Dave. I forgot myself when I prayed for her . . .
On a blinding, bright, bitterly cold January day, I walked along with the crowd from the church to the cemetery. As they released pink balloons to the blue sky, her bless-ed parents became saints to me.
But my tears became questions. If God could allow the worst to happen to them, I was not immune. The worst could happen to me, too. My story was not guaranteed a happy ending. Dave could go back to drugs at any time. I really might never trust him again. We actually might get a divorce. We may always be destitute. Our life really has been destroyed.
I began to doubt things I had believed all my life. “Plans to prosper not to harm” — oh really? Burdens piled on. Homelessness. Poverty. Social Services. And underneath all flowed uncertainty.
Issues with Dave’s former employer became daily aggravations. It seemed so unfair that they should place any burden on me. Summer days passed in a cubicle instead of at home with my kids as I had done all their lives.
My dearest sister struggled against cancer. I could barely breathe prayers for her. My chest ached morning to night. I was afraid to trust God with her. And she was a thousand miles away.
Bitterness shot out roots . . .
Months of my life burned at the edges with fear. I painted myself with a tough coat of anger to hold back the pain. I was anything but accepting of God’s will.
* * * * *
I composed this post over the past week and was reluctant to post today as I had planned. Because injustice strives so hard for control.
This morning, I feel the stretching as two-years of tearing the fabric of so many lives threatens to tear longer and deeper.
The fight wears on you . . .
The meek shall inherit the land
Jesus’ blessing for the meek invokes scenes vivid in my mind. . .
Cain, in a murderous jealous rage against his brother. God speaks to him: sin is crouching at the door, it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.*
I wonder if Moses had heard those very words himself before bitterness overtook him at Meribah and he struck the uncooperative rock in a display of anger.
Moses had done so much good and had obeyed so much. It seems so unfair that he should not be allowed to go into the Promised Land.
. . . Moses had been to this place of testing before. The people were thirsty. They doubted. Would a loving God lead them to the desert to die?
I feel near that place again, too. And I want to smack that rock with every fiber of my being.
Meek is not about quiet. Or reserved. Or shy. Or weak. Meek is accepting God’s dealings with us as good. Meek requires the wisdom to know when the fight isn’t yours.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. Psalm 37:8-9