the blessed life

Jesus called his way of life "blessed." As in "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." And I began to take that seriously once I realized that this didn't just mean our attitude about life would change, but that God would actually change our experience of life. God would make things happen both inside and outside us, providing for both internal and external needs. I experienced this most clearly in the way God provided for my material needs on my walks. It taught me more convincingly that I wasn't just experimenting with a philosophy or way of thinking but was dealing with the God of the universe, who could really change things. Who could really provide a "blessed" life.

My struggles over the past few months left me confused, though. Where was this God who had provided so readily and so well? Why was I stuck in this place where it seems so hard to find meaning or know how to contribute well, where it seems so hard to love?

Some insight into my own faults and weaknesses has helped me see why this rough time might be good for me. But even while passing through this hard period, I'm seeing God providing what I need to make it. Real things, things that I couldn't arrange myself. One thing was the newsletter from the Catholic Worker retreat center that I picked up off the desk and found a possible next step. And talking to them provided a goal and project (studying 12-step spirituality) for these next months. A project that has turned out to be very interesting and helpful. Without those things, I don't think I could have endured the time here.

And last weekend I got a call from Evanston. Julius invited me to come back to my old household in Reba Place Fellowship for a couple weeks to work with Bob (who I used to work with when I lived there), teaching computer skills. That sounds like a break I really need. So I'm going in two weeks.

"Your Father knows your needs," Jesus said. And he is able to meet them. In harder times, it's not as easy to hold onto faith that God is near and helping. But when we do get signs of his care, they mean so much more. Life can seem blessed even when it's dark and threatening all around.