Psalm 86, Ecclesiastes 7:2–5, Matthew 5:3-10
The world is often full of pain. In fact, were you to watch the news, it would seem that pain far outweighs anything else in the world. One of the biggest reasons for this is our desire to avoid it. Sounds contradictory. If we look around us, though, often what people pursue is to avoid pain. This could be any kind of pain: hunger, loss, shame, health, pride, life.
This often leads to problems as we try to hide our pain from ourselves and others. We also strive to avoid others’ pain, so that we don’t feel a touch of it ourselves.
Why is it that the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us to go to the house of mourning? Wouldn’t it be better to be in a fun place? In pain, there is often far more honesty (even if it is pain lashing out in anger) than there is where everybody seems to be having a good time, or at least certainly trying to have a good time.
Jesus takes it even to another level and says those in pain are blessed. Blessed? For most people in pain, blessed is often not the first word that comes to mind. However, in pain is often the time a heart is more open to change. This can be the time the Holy Spirit is presented with an open door.
1) Think of many of the major decisions in your life. Were they based partially on pain or pain avoidance?
2) We often focus on pain. Why is that, when that’s not what we want?
3) While Jesus isn’t telling us to deliberately and purposefully live a life of pain, what do his blessings tell us is the Christian response?