If you or someone you care about has suicidal feelings, please seek help. Reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255, the Crisis Text Line (text to 741741) or The Church of the Resurrection pastoral care—(913) 544-0712 or (913) 544-0799 after office hours.
1 Praise the LORD!
Because it is good to sing praise to our God!
Because it is a pleasure to make beautiful praise!
2 The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem, gathering up Israel’s exiles.
3 God heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.
4 God counts the stars by number,
giving each one a name.
5 Our LORD is great and so strong!
God’s knowledge can’t be grasped!
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up a mountain. He sat down and his disciples came to him. 2 He taught them, saying:
3 “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
4 “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.
Based on a single verse (like Psalm 147:1), some people say a “true” Christian can only feel “praise.” But if we, or someone we care about, is hurting deeply, that often just deepens the despair. Psalm 147 spoke after Israel’s exile in Babylon (see verse 2). And verse 3 said, not that God’s people were never sad, but that God tenderly cares for the brokenhearted and wounded. In the first two of his famous “Beatitudes” (from the Latin beatus, “blessed”) Jesus' named hopelessness and grief as part of human life. But he offered God’s good news to the hopeless and grieving.
- Israel’s exile in Babylon left scattered people and a ruined Jerusalem. “Against all the evidence the psalm declares that Yahweh is the builder of Jerusalem and the gatherer of exiles, the healer of broken spirits and the nurse who bandages people’s wounds…. How can you believe such declarations? You can believe them on the basis of the fact that the God of whom the psalm speaks is the one who controls the stars and who cannot himself be put under control.”* How easy or hard do you find it to trust that the universe’s Creator cares about you when you hurt?
- Jesus would have used the Aramaic phrase “O, the blessedness of….” in the Beatitudes. It meant much more than circumstance-based human happiness. Scholar William Barclay wrote, “‘No one,’ said Jesus, ‘will take your joy from you’ (John 16:22). The beatitudes speak of that joy which seeks us through our pain, that joy which sorrow and loss, and pain and grief, are powerless to touch, that joy which shines through tears, and which nothing in life or death can take away.”** When, if ever, has God given you that deep inner trust? How can you daily build a bond with God that makes that good news an unshakeable part of your life?
Lord Jesus, I want the kind of rock-solid blessedness you offer me. Shape my heart to value what you value, to rejoice in the eternal life you give. Amen.
* John Goldingay, Psalms for Everyone, Part 2: Psalms 73–150. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, p. 221.
** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Matthew—Volume 1 Chapters 1–10 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 89.
Want more reflection on today's GPS?
Ashley is the High School Pastor at rezlife Leawood. After seven years of higher ed in religion, she finally understands that she can't figure out God (no matter how hard she tries). She’s leaning into the challenge to move from a thinking-based faith to loving God with both her head and heart.