Luke’s version of the beatitudes is strange. I mean who feels blessed when they are poor, when they are hungry, or when they are weeping? Who feels blessed when we are hated, reviled, and excluded?
It’s in those painful, wretched moments of our life that we usually feel about as far away from God as we could possibly be. When we are at our lowest is when we tend to entertain the thought that God has abandoned us – that we are alone in the universe – that God doesn’t really care about us.
But, Jesus says that that’s exactly when we are blessed.
Either Jesus doesn’t know what blessing is… or we don’t.
I’m betting it’s the later.
These proclamations of blessing are here to remind us that our darkest days are not the days when we are alone and forsaken. In fact, in some strange way, it may just be when we are in the most need may just be when we are nearest to the Presence of God.
Remember that Jesus himself was betrayed, arrested, beaten, ridiculed, and executed. Remember it was Jesus himself who cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus experienced horrific pain, AND he experienced the feeling of the abandonment of God.
Amazingly, he not only shared in our human pain and death, but he also shared in our experience of being alone and forsaken by God. Our experience now joins Jesus’ experience. When we suffer, Jesus is right there with us saying, “I know, right?” And when we say how alone we feel, Jesus says “I know, right?”
It’s in our very experience of abandonment that we find ourselves in Jesus’ company.