Several years ago, my small group Bible study was studying Life in the Kingdom: The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). You probably remember the Beatitudes part of that passage: “Blessed are the poor . . . the peacemaker,” etc. One Beatitude stood out to me: “Blessed are the meek.” (Matthew 5:5)
Now, automatically we tend to define a word according to our current culture’s definition. To me, “meek” referred to someone who is quieter, timid, who will always defer, saying, “Oh, no, YOU take the bigger donut.” But the Bible was written in a different era, in a different culture, and the words don’t always translate well into our limited English, so a good Bible student will do a word study to find out the full meaning. When we studied what the Greek word for “meek” meant, it astounded me. It had little to do with insisting others go first.
According to Strong’s, “Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting . . . . It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation.”
This definition of biblical meekness was my main “take away” from that year of study. It changed my life. I continue to ask God to make me more aware of my responses—that I would respond with meekness, that the Holy Spirit would give me open hands to accept the HARD things, trusting him to walk through it with me—and even open hands with the GOOD things (my children, possessions, money, etc.) and freely trust him with it.
I’ve shared with countless friends about meekness over the years—always with my hands out, palms up, ready to accept whatever God placed there. I did this so much that when Cara (Smith) saw a small stained-glass window in John Calvin’s church on the Reformation tour in Germany of two hands, palms up, she thought of me, snapped a photo, framed it, and it hangs on my office wall. That photo is so precious to me!
Recently, I caught three viruses back-to-back, which landed me in the hospital on New Year’s Day for five days. This was SO not my normal—I’m rarely sick and have never been in the hospital but to have a baby.
Lying in my hospital bed, staring at the closed blind on the window at the foot of my bed, I wondered if this is how one felt when they were dying: weak, nauseous, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, low everything. I couldn’t imagine feeling worse. What was happening to me?
As I lay there, weak and depleted, I noticed my limp hands resting on my blanket, IV hooked into one, and I thought of the photo of the open hands. “Well . . . ok, Lord . . . . I trust you. I don’t really feel READY to die, because Michaela (my youngest) is still quite young . . . also, YOU know the state of my desk at home right now. If I left now, my children would NOT rise up and call me blessed (Proverbs 31:28), they’d rise up and curse my name! But you would help them manage everything if this is the time to go. I don’t really FEEL like I’m going now . . . but I do want to trust you in this.”
During that conversation with God, I felt so relaxed and PEACEFUL. I’m naturally very gifted in the art of worry and can dream up some tragic “what ifs.” That conversation was a supernatural experience! God met me in my weak need, gave me his peace, and enabled me to accept illness and trust him. Such tenderness! I am grateful to be loved by Him.
“Meekness” was just one of the many blessings in my month of sickness. And what a gift!
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