Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blessed Are

In contrast to the “Poor Jamie Jo” thread I’ve been weaving here, I want to shift gears and change my focus. After all, if a stinky house and backed up plumbing are my only complaints, I am truly blessed.

Or am I?

The American view of blessing is health and safety and prosperity. But is that biblical?

How easy it is to claim I trust God when I know that I always have options, no matter how dire and unbearable my circumstances become. If a medical emergency arises or disaster strikes, my family could be evacuated from Mexico. Our insurance would provide financial assistance at any specialty hospital of our choosing.

How easy it is to declare that God will take care of me when I know that friends and family around the globe have money in the bank and open hearts and homes. Homelessness is not a huge risk in my life. Being a Christian is actually to my advantage. The body of Christ is a sweet consolation during trials.

The true heroes of the faith are the modern day Hebrews 11 believers, those who pay a high price for calling themselves Christians, those who are violently persecuted for their beliefs, who have few if any material possessions, and no rich friends or American passport to aid them.

This past week I was humbled to meet one such hero. Hermano Hugo is an indigenous pastor who has been beaten, thrown in jail, and later run out of town. His crops were stolen, his home destroyed, and the church burned to the ground. Hugo and the other believers have forgiven their enemies and chosen to return to rebuild their homes to bring the Light to a very dark corner of Oaxaca.

After ten years of marriage, Hugo lost the one earthly support that remained. His beloved 27-year-old wife and partner in ministry died last week. Her memorial service was a graphic illustration of Isaiah 61:3: as they put on a garment of praise, God began giving them “beauty for ashes” and “the oil of joy for mourning.” Through their tears they sang exuberantly about heaven.

In the midst of his own sorrow, Hugo rejoiced that his unsaved neighbors could hear a clear presentation of the Gospel that day. The death of his wife provided the perfect opportunity to hold an evangelistic meeting among the very ones who had persecuted the Christians.

In my thinking, Hugo is the one who is blessed. In the words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

With Easter coming up, I’ve been meditating on Philippians 3:7-11, giving a lot of thought to the idea of knowing Christ in the power of His resurrection and also in His suffering.

IRL*Come what may, it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.


  1. Thanks, JJ! That was beautiful.

  2. Thank you for this beautiful story. I pray that God will give Hno. Hugo supernatural peace and grace.

    Monday I was privileged to attend a memorial service here in Turkey for 3 men who were horribly tortured and then killed for their faith April 18th 4 years ago in Turkey. One of the men was from our city. It was a beautiful memorial and a time of worship to the Lord. Believers from different churches in our city attended. Nothing will stop God's church!

  3. Thank you. After visiting the site last week were between 80,000-100,000+ Haitians were buried after the quake I wondered how many of them had suffered for the Lord during their lives. I know some did. I spoke to a lady who told me that 3 days after the quake she stood up at the funeral of 2 of her 3 adult children who were killed and told what the Lord had done in her life and encouraged others to follow Him. Such strength the Lord provides for those He loves that suffer around the world. Thank you for the reminder of how blessed we are...and that He does NOT promise that this life will be safe or conformable. Fauche

  4. How well I remember the death of those three men in Turkey. In fact I think of them often.

    Fauche,as much as we may think we know that our children are on loan to us, it's still just so terribly wrong when parents survive their children. So tragic. And yet I hope I would still declare the faithfulness of God amid such a loss.

  5. Thanks for this, Jamie!!! I'm often humbled by the things I learn from those around me who don't have any way of escaping their circumstances. I'll be remembering Hugo, too. Why are true joy and heartbreaking sorrow so frequently intertwined.....?!

  6. "Why are true joy and heartbreaking sorrow so frequently intertwined.....?!"

    Even Jesus, "for the joy set before Him..." endured the cross for us. I think pain and joy are linked, too.

    After all these years I have resisted watching the movie The Passion, thinking it sounds way too intense. This year, I think I may be ready to see it with this joy in suffering theme in mind.


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