Aha Moments

Paradoxical Blessings

It’s been some time since I’ve learned of the paradoxical nature of blessings, and yet I must remind myself this daily to stay on track with God.

For instance, God says the meek will inherit the earth—but how? Often, it seems that they’re the ones being trodden down! But when I realized that meekness wasn’t the same thing as wallflower-syndrome, but strength under control, it helped me to understand God’s plan a bit more.

Meekness isn’t a lack of assertiveness, but withholding the biting words that will win you the argument. It isn’t pushing for your own desires, but letting others feel appreciated. It’s not weakness, but taking a hit and without giving one back.

Still, how does this win you the earth? God will reward His servants later, of course, when He comes as Conquering King. But isn’t the whole tearing down the wicked and blessing the faithful a bit ironic? He’s tearing down the wicked in a less-than-meek manner to bless the meek. The closest I can compare it to is the legal system tearing down criminals who harm innocents, but that’s not the same thing. It’s not just punishing those who did the crime, but also blessing the victims as if they could help it.

But then I saw that meekness is about innocence, not victimhood. Still, I was a confused. Yet in God’s mercy, He helped me see the motivation for meekness isn’t about those around you who are as flawed as you are. It’s about serving God by bowing to His command to let Him be the Judge and not taking these legal matters into our own hands. Being meek is about being God’s humble servant.

This all leads back to another confusing truth: those who want to be chief should be servants (Mk. 10:44). I get that leaders should show those under them that they care, but one day in a sermon my pastor said something that confused me again. He said, If you want to know whether you have the heart of a servant, look at how you react when people treat you like one.

But that just couldn’t be fair! I couldn’t handle my enemies laughing at me in triumph, at least not without laughing back in their faces. But Jesus put himself through His enemies’ mockery for me at Calvary. He didn’t hide his face from enemy laughter or spit. He didn’t hide his back from whippings or his head from thorns. He didn’t even hide his wrists from those cruel, steel nails or his face from their wicked taunts about how He supposedly couldn’t save Himself. He suffered the most, and yet He is the greatest, though man refuses to acknowledge that.

And then I realized, what does it matter what men think? That was my true problem, and the true reason why servanthood seemed so impossible before now: my care for man’s good opinion and God’s good opinion would continue to struggle for preeminence. But if I humbled myself to be servant of all, I’d become chief–not by man’s standard, but by God’s.

God’s ways are higher than man’s, even when they seem paradoxical. Thus, though His ways are hard, I will follow them because one day, I want to stand before Christ unashamed. I want to see Him glorified, dressed in white, with the smell of cassia and myrrh and aloes rolling off Him. I want to see Him smile at me from the ivory palaces that will make me glad enough to know that the hard road was worth it.

Being a meek servant isn’t just about dying to your carnal self–you can’t help anyone lying down on the ground like that. Instead, it’s about living to God’s higher purposes for you. A harder journey, no doubt, but one worth the effort.

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