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Read Matthew 5:4

Yesterday, we read Jesus’ words about those in spiritual poverty. Today, it’s people who are experiencing negative circumstances. Each of us has a story filled with sadness, despair, and brokenness. This can look like abuse of any kind, broken relationships, failed marriages, loss of a job, a devastating medical diagnosis, infertility, or the unexpected loss of a loved one. We will naturally experience many forms of sorrow in our human lives. God intended for us to feel and to cry, but not to punish us. Instead, He wants those moments or seasons to strengthen our hearts and allow us to grow.

The standard logic of Jesus’ audience and believed by many today is that when good things happen to a person, it’s because the person is good and God likes them. Bad things happen to bad people because God is mad at them. That logic is wrong and Jesus says it’s the people who mourn who are blessed. Going through something difficult doesn’t feel like a blessing! But if our response to a painful circumstance is to rely more fully on God, our negatives can be a cause for growth. Sometimes weightlifters will say, “No pain, no gain.” They know that to build bigger muscles, they need to experience the pain of lifting weights at the limit of their strength. Christians should know that our faith grows strongest in painful circumstances. James, Jesus’ half-brother, said it this way in James 1:2-3, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” Let’s find joy in all of our circumstances today.