“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Most of the blessings in The Beatitudes have always made sense to me. This one, however, I always struggled to understand. In fact, I did not fully comprehend this verse until I lived it. You see, I did not realize that the poor in spirit are those among us who are fully broken – they have been beaten down by life. I was confused by a word in the verse. Hold that thought; I will come back to it.
I had always seen myself as a strong person, not in the physical sense, but in spirit. No matter what life threw at me, I rose to the challenge and triumphed. Everyone always told me I was strong, which fueled my pride. Then it happened, I broke. I experienced the life-altering event that I could not beat: the moment where I literally cried out to God to fight my battle. In that moment of desperation, I came to the end of my self. Humility replaced pride. I became the poor in spirit.
But I did not become pathetic. Maybe that statement sounds weird, but remember that thought I asked you to hold? We are back to it. I had grown up in a world that judges, condemns, and marginalizes specific populations in society. In fact, up until the day he departed this world, my father was one of the most critical, judgmental people I knew. Because I had been raised in such a culture, in my mind, the words poor and pathetic were practically synonymous.
In becoming one of the poor in spirit, I replaced pride with humility. And I discovered that I am a princess: a child of God. That heritage is priceless. Isaiah 61:3 became and remains my Rhema verse “— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” I wear my crown with humility. I rejoice in my trials, knowing that He is using me and my story for His glory, turning my messes into His messages. I humbly praise and worship Him during my weakest moments because I know He is my strength, and my victory was already won.
No matter what challenges I face in life and the natural world, I already know that it does not matter. I can suffer terrible loss. I can experience trauma and sickness; society can persecute me and marginalize me; I can walk through the fire because I know He is always with me. I know that no matter what happens, He will bring me through, and I will receive my inheritance in my Father’s kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.
Life is hard. But we have the promise that was paid for when God sent His son to die. When we encounter turbulent waters, we must leave pride and fear behind. We must look to the cross, claim our inheritance, and humbly live to advance His kingdom.
I am blessed to know that in my brokenness and poorness in spirit, I inherited the kingdom of God!