I recently heard Psalm 88 called a beautiful picture of blessing. I’m not sure if you familiar with it - but I’ll give you a verse highlight. “You have taken me from my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief.”
Left to my own devices, this would probably be the last Bible passage I would associate with the word blessing.
“Blessing” is relegated to the category of christian cliches, these days – and one that bugs me, to boot. Mostly, we hear it in association with the words, ‘baby’, ‘husband’ and ‘[insert something you wanted badly and received.]’
Worse still, is when people pull ‘blessed’ out as a word to describe prosperity, supposedly stemming from their obedience to God. “God blessed us with money when we trusted Him for provision.” “God blessed me with a husband when I was content.” “God blessed us with eleven children when we handed our fertility over to him.”
And I don’t think we have a leg to stand on if we say these things and circumstances are bad. They’re not! God is good to us – sometimes giving us people and life situations that seem so good to us.
You wonder though, how does it all fit with psalm 88? By the cliché’s standard, this guy doesn’t sound blessed. He sounds cursed! And you begin to wonder why we don’t hear the words ‘blessed’ on the lips of a mom with one child hanging from her leg and another who just spilled cocoa powder. Or from the single girl who longs for marriage as another birthday ticks by. Or the father whose children, grown and gone, are turned hard against the Lord…
And they wonder what they’re doing wrong.
Blessed? It sure doesn’t feel like it.
Yet that’s the point.
Right in the middle of psalm 88 comes a set of questions and as you read you hear the answers echoing back in your mind.
“Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you?”
It’s a whisper. Yes
“Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?”
Is anyone thinking of the empty tomb? The answer is louder – Yes! And what the minister spoke to, the blessing in psalm 88, clicks.
Because blessing is not a feeling. It is not a gold star for merit, or a reward for a job well done.
It is entirely, (hallelujah!) God’s seal of Grace on His children, because of what Christ has accomplished.
His job well done.
In fact, as ones that the Father loves, blessed is our state of being – no matter what ups and downs we face.
In deepest discouragement, when ‘darkness is my closest friend’, we don’t have to ask why blessing is denied us. In true fact – we are closer than ever to the source of all blessing.
And You know what He loves? For us to come in our weakness and seek His face. Like the man from Psalm 88 – to search, and seek, and throw ourselves on God’s strength - ‘not letting Him go until He blesses us,” - these are the prayers that in His time, He will answer Yes.
And to have Him revealed to us – is really, the only blessing we need.