I am a little slow this week with my lectionary reflection because I am at a retreat for pastor’s in my denomination and every time I sit to write, or prepare my sermon for Sunday I realize I am exhausted and need to sleep. But anyway here we go:
I’m the type who loves all kinds of music, contemporary Christian, rock, rap, hymns…whatever. My congregation hears almost every Sunday….THIS is one of my very favourite hymns or songs. But really; one of my very favourite hymns is Great is Thy Faithfulness. It always has been.
One time when I was in College, one of my Biblical studies professors asked the class however, would you still be able to sing this song if you lived in a third world country, or if you found yourself in a situation like Job having everything you know stripped away from you?
I wonder if I would.
I don’t like it when people minimize other people’s stress, though I am sure I have done it from time to time. I can remember just after my Grandma died someone said to me, Oh come on smile. The truth was at the time I could not, I knew all of the platitudes that people offer during those times to be true, but I did not want to hear them.
Have you ever heard a phrase like this when you are going through a difficult time:
Well at least you have your health…
It’s not so bad, you could be like so and so…
At least you have a job…
or whatever the case may be, I’ve heard them and I’ve said them. But I try not to any more, just because my situation or your situation might not be as bad as someone else doesn’t mean that we are not experiencing stress or pain.
So if Jesus had come to me at a point where I felt like I was poor in spirit, or mourning, or feeling persecuted, I am not sure that I would have appreciated his message that I am blessed.
And here is the thing, I think it is ok to mourn, and it is ok to experience those times when we feel lost because of our circumstances. I believe it is ok to admit that there are times when I do not have it all together, to be honest with myself before the very God I know will bring me comfort and strength.
In fact it is for that very reason that I can admit it when I struggle, because I know that I am blessed and I know that I will be….whatever the promise is that I need at that time.
What about you? Are you feeling blessed, or do you need to just hold on to that hope for the future with all your might? We’ll all find ourselves along the spectrum at some point and it helps to know on whom we can lean. That’s why I love the hymn so much, particularly the third verse. Because when I am not feeling strong, when I am not feeling blessed I know that I can rely on his presence and his strength to carry me through until that blessing if fully realized.
Here is that third verse. Great is Thy Faithfulness…amen?
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!