I often sign off an email, a letter or a note with ‘Be blessed!’ This has resulted in interesting discussion. Recently I received an email this response:
“I chuckled at your sign off “be blessed” – my first thought was that I am already so completely blessed. Then I realized that part of the wisdom of your words is that it is reminds me of the danger of allowing blessings to go unnoticed. We miss out on part of the blessing, which only comes as we recognize the blessing as a blessing. So thanks.”
Several years ago, during our Week of Prayer at church, I had a radical shift in my thinking, as it relates to the word ‘blessed’. During our Week of Prayer, our church sanctuary is transformed into ‘stations’ where we meet with God and worship Him in various ways. It might be writing a poem, a story, a thought. It might be through prayer, or a piece of art. Each station is a unique experience, a place to connect with God.
That year, at one particular station, there were stones and markers. We were to choose a stone, and ask God for a word, or message, and write it on the stone with permanent marker. The perfect stone caught my eye. Smooth. Almost heart-shaped. Semi-flat. Not too big. Not too small. I held it. It was mine.
I paused, and asked God what He would like to say to me, what I needed to know.
One word: ‘Blessed’.
“Blessed”. I almost rejected the word. Not because I didn’t want it to be true, not because I didn’t wish for the blessed life, but because, in many ways, I didn’t ‘feel’ blessed at that time.
I asked God again, hoping He would either change the word, or add to it and clarify it. Maybe I had just made it up because I wanted so desperately to believe that His blessing was for me.
A single word. Again. There was no additions. No explanation, like, “When you walk through those doors tonight, you will be blessed for the rest of your life”, or any other thoughts expounding on that word.
Not long before this event I had suffered a massive heart attack—morbidly known as the Widow Maker, because it is usually deadly and mostly happens to men. My health felt fragile. How could I be ‘blessed’? Death had pursued me all my life, even before that heart attack. I had haemorrhaged to within an inch of my life several years prior, and experienced various other health crises. Not to mention a childhood riddled with abuse and death threats that had me constantly terrified of death.
How could I be blessed? Where was the blessing?
‘Blessed’. I thought about it. What did it mean? And then it hit me, “I am blessed.” The outcome in each of the tragedies could have been worse, and that alone was a blessing. But there was something more, something deeper.
I am blessed because in each of these tragedies, regardless of the outcome, I knew I was held in God’s hands. In my humanity, I went through moments of fear and anxiety but in that fear I had the confidence that I was safe.
I am blessed because I know that I know, all is well with my soul. Not because of who I am, or because of my goodness, but because of Jesus.
The blessing is not found, in an easy life, or a perfect life, but in knowing God. If you’re going through a hard time in your life, if you need to know that there is purpose in this moment, let God speak to you about what being blessed really means. (Matthew 5:1-12)
© Trudy Metzger 2012