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Devotional: September 18, 2020

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."

Matthew 5: 1-3 The Message


The Beatitudes are a series of eight blessings, which form the beginning of Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount.


The most traditional translation of the first blessing is “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  Some have speculated that the meaning of this phrase centers around humility. We are called upon to be humble, rather than arrogant. 


Yet I believe Eugene Peterson captures the true essence of what Jesus was saying with his translation: “You're blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.” It is a reminder that God’s spirit is with us, even when life feels like it is drawing out all of our energy. 


Sometimes, the big and little frustrations of life seem to pile on top of one another, and we can feel overwhelmed. We get to the point where we don’t know if we can take one more thing. Even what would normally feel like a minor inconvenience seems like too much. One more burden, even a small one feels like “the straw which broke the camel’s back!” 


The blessing or promise which goes along with this first beatitude is that “with less of you, there is more of God and his rule.” The more traditional biblical translation says, “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”


Sometimes when life's circumstances overwhelm us, we may forget to run to the Lord. Let us remember to fall on our knees before Him. When we reach out to the Lord, especially in times of troubles or desperation, He is already there. The Lord will walk with us through all of the challenges of life. After all, He is the King and Lord of ALL!


When it comes to the phrase, “at the end of your rope” one of my favorite images is an old picture of a cat. This particular feline is struggling to hold on to the end of a rope. The caption on the poster says, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!” I would only add the words “AND PRAY!”.


I appreciate sentiment of that cat poster and meme: we do not succumb to defeatism. We do not just give up. No! We need to remember the night is often darkest just before the dawn. When we feel like we are at the end of our rope, we rejoice in the reassuring truth that God will see us through, no matter what!


Prayer 


Faithful Lord,

Thank You for always being right there with us, especially when the rope feels like it is slipping out of our hands. Help us to hold on to You, and trust in Your strength to carry us through the challenges life presents to us. Help us to be vessels of hope to others who are walking through difficult times. Protect us through all of the storms of life. Help us to be as faithful to You as you are to us. We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen


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