“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:8-10
“Where is God in this?” Is a question I ask many times a week. Whether with the church staff or with my family, trying to see where God is working, what God is doing, how God is changing the situation, (or our attitudes about it), helps us reframe our reality. There are times when we see an obstacle or a difficulty in life as a perceived persecution, when really it’s just a normal part of life. “Why is God doing this to me?” is a question we tend to ask ourselves when things go wrong, or not the way we had hoped and prayed.
Where is God in the heartache and frustrations of life? Where is God in our neverending Covid-fatigue? Where is God when we can’t worship the way we want??? Where is God? When Jesus preached to the people on the mountain in Matthew 5, he told them that the pure in heart are blessed because they will see God. The people working for peace will be called God’s children. The people who suffer persecution because of righteousness are blessed for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Persecution and conflict don’t feel like places we will see God. But God shows up in the midst of conflict and our desire to work for peace. God shows up in our experience of being persecuted when it is for the cause of righteousness. We see God when our hearts are pure and not clouded by pride, greed, anger, or fear.
The question we need to ask when we can’t see God moving and working in the place we find ourselves, is not, “Why have you abandoned me, God?” but rather, “Where are you moving and working, and how can I join you?” Do I need to step away from this situation, this conflict, this place where I have dug in my heels and join God in the work of righteousness, rather than feeding my own indignation? The place where we will see God is all around us, if only we have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts that are pure.
Holy and gracious God, your blessings are abundant, and your wisdom exceeds our grasp. We confess that we find your Be-attitudes odd – too often, we would like a different set of blessings. Change our hearts, O God. Fill us with your Spirit this day, that we may be justice seekers and peacemakers, sharing your life among those who are forgotten, weak, or persecuted, and revealing to all your glory. Amen.