“I Am Blessed”
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. Dt 28:6
“I hate it when you say that!” my friend, Linda, snapped at me. “You can’t always be blessed!”
Linda objected to my stock answer. For years “I am blessed” has been my response to that ubiquitous question, “How are you?”.
“Fine,” is the expected answer.
But I wanted to answer the question in a more truthful manner. We are not always, “fine” but as those who have been redeemed by the Lord, we are “blessed.” We are eternally, fundamentally blessed. No power on earth can remove that blessing from us.
אֶשֶׁר This is the Hebrew word that is translated, “Blessed” in the first verse of the Psalm 1. The first letter, right to left in Hebrew, is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph. Each of the Hebrew letters has a word meaning. The meaning of Aleph is called on. It means first and strong. It is also the symbol for God. The center letter of this word is Sheen, and its meaning is teeth, or devour, and the third letter is Reysh which means head, person, or highest. So, we could look at the word אֶשֶׁר and get this meaning out of it: God holds us in his teeth because he is the head and he has taken hold of us for his highest purposes. Being held in the teeth may not seem like a blessing, but if the teeth are the teeth of the Lord, we can be assured that whatever he is doing is for our good.
I have another friend who answers the “How are you” question the same way I do, but he sometimes adds, “I don’t always like it, but I am blessed.”
Amen. I don’t always like what the Lord is doing in my life, either, but I know that I am blessed, no matter what.
I had the opportunity recently to have my stock answer put to the test.
In the fall of 2015 there was a terrible crisis at Grace Harbor Farms. The conflict between me, Tim and David got so bad that Tim asked me to move off the farm.
We did reconcile a month later. Before that happened though, I went through a deep heart change. Held between the teeth and stretched is a good picture of the blessing process I went through.
A week after I moved off the farm I asked David to call a meeting of the management team of Grace Harbor International (GHI), the business I still own. I had written a diatribe I intended to deliver to them. I had spelled out all the ways they had betrayed me.
After I wrote it I sent it to my daughter, Heather. She called me in a few minutes and said, “Well, Mom, how do you think they are going to receive it?”
Her question struck my heart.
“I hear you,” I said.
“I understand your need to vent,” she assured me, “sometimes it is very helpful to get things said.”
“Yes, I do hear you.” I said, “I will pray.”
That night, Sunday night, before I was going to meet with the team the next day, I woke up in the middle of the night and was led to a book by Andrew Murray, “Absolute Surrender”. The second chapter of that classic Christian work is called, “The Fruit of the Spirit is Love”. When I finished reading that chapter I was on my face, on the floor, repenting and weeping before the Lord.
There is so much in that chapter. My highlights look like street lamps on a busy road. Read it. Obey the Lord’s word to love and the world will change. Here is one highlight:
“Let a man be what he will, you are to love him. Love is to be the fruit of the Spirit all the day and every day. Yes, listen! If you don’t love that unlovable man whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen? You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God. You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother; that is the one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the love of God is in your heart, you will love your brother. The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.
My call was to love, no matter what.
I went to the meeting on Monday morning with a whole new heart.
As each of them came into the meeting room I asked “How are you?”
Each gave the standard, “Fine. How are you?”
I answered each one, “I am blessed.”
When they were seated I said, “You have all heard me say, “I am blessed,” when asked, ‘How are you?’ It is my standard answer to that question.I am blessed. As a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus, I am forever, eternally blessed, but that doesn’t mean that I have it made, that life is easy, or that I will not have significant trouble in this world. On the contrary, the word of God assures us that in this world we will have trouble. “Don’t be surprised,“ Jesus says, “when the world hates you, they hated me first.” You will be persecuted, you will be dragged into courts, you will beaten, or beheaded. But you are blessed. One of the definitions of “blessed” means to be held between the teeth and stretched. Amen. I am blessed. The last words I have put on the sign outside the driveway are, “Not Guns or Gold, Trust Jesus.
“I don’t trust in the things of this world. Not guns or gold, or even the people. I trust Jesus. He told me to give up the management of GHI. He didn’t say I would like it, he just said, do it. I am going to be obedient to that word. I am going to give up the management of GHI to you. You will compensate me fairly for what I have done to build this business because the Lord is going to inspire you how to do it. The business will grow and prosper, he told me so, but it is not me who will do it. It is you. I am entrusting GHI to the Lord and he has given this opportunity to you to be good stewards of it. May you all be richly blessed as you move forward.”
As they got up to leave I took each one by the shoulders and blessed them, individually, personally.
“Bless those you persecute you.”