Here is something we can all agree about: Tough times come into the lives of everyone. At some point, everyone walks through the valley of sorrows. Jesus makes it very clear that when difficult things come to all of us, and they will, He will sustain us so that we can enjoy life again.
I have often heard of “the calm BEFORE the storm”……The truth of Jesus is as I always say, “upside down”. The truth is–there’s a calm AFTER every storm!
While we can’t always control what’s happening around us, we can prepare ourselves to survive anything that comes. The life that we have with Jesus is something that happens in the center of our beings. Let’s take a look at the next Beatitude:
In Matthew 5, Verse 7, Jesus tells us,
Mathew 5:7 (TNIV)
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
So, what is “mercy”? I think we can understand it better if we first compare it to “grace”. Grace is an exemption–“grace” is shown to the undeserving and is often associated with people who are doing the wrong thing. “Mercy” is “grace in action”. “Mercy” is exercising “grace”….it’s not simply feeling compassion, it’s doing something to alleviate the distress in someone’s life.
The key to experiencing sustaining joy and fulfillment in life is found in our faith in God. We have looked at the first four principals that Jesus said would bring happiness and fulfillment to our lives, indeed, blessing, regardless of what’s going on in the world around us.
On the Cross, Jesus extended “mercy” when He, being crucified with criminals crucified on crosses to His left and to His right, looked at the crowd and said:
Luke 23:34 (TNIV)
…”Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”
Happiness and fulfillment in life comes through realizing that in the same way that we are merciful to others God is merciful to us. He looks at us with mercy and compassion. The word “merciful” implies generosity, forgiveness and compassion–and it INCLUDES a desire to remove the wrong as well as alleviate the suffering.
May we not only extend grace to others…may we extend mercy to the suffering and those who have less than us. May we live the compassion and empathy in our hearts that the Father has for us. And…may we help calm the storms in the lives of others just as Jesus has helped calm the storms in our lives.