What else can I choose…but joy?

Sometimes I feel so down and distraught, that I wonder how I will ever be able to stand again. After all I’ve gone through, when I finally see the other side of this trial, will I want to rise? Is it worth it?

If you are in that place, I ache for you. Some of Jesus’ most endearing words come to mind for you:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Matthew 5:3-12

It is interesting that before the Bible tells us these things it says: When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside…[and] Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.

God’s ministry to us through Jesus

is not about

ignoring pain,

but bringing meaning

to it.

And we who are closest

to Him —

Those…apprenticed to him,

the committed, as the Bible says —

climb up that hillside of the forgotten with him (verse 1).

There He shows us that we belong

with Him,

even in our deepest heart-ache.

Not because of how well we “take” everything,

or how unmoved we are by troubles,

but because He came to make known

His compassion for us —

that we would be assured of

how close we are

to His heart.

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