Blessed Are the Shipwrecked

Have you ever been completely lost? I’m not talking about partially lost, you know, where you just need to ask someone next to you or turn on the GPS, I mean completely, utterly lost?

I ask that question and to be honest, I cannot say that I have, at least not in a literal physical sense. I’ve been lucky enough to have people around me who have a clue as to what’s going on and where we are that I am spared. However, I have thought, for a fleeting moment or two, that I was lost in another sense.

I remember working on my master’s degree while also coaching high school sports, leading a high school youth group, a religious release class, a church, and my own family. What was I thinking???? 😂
There were times when I would awake with a gripping and sudden fear that I had failed to do something (an assignment, leave for a game on time, prepare a message, or just wake up when I was supposed to!). In those moments, however brief they were, I felt lost, afraid, defeated. Been there?

What should a person do when they are lost? Survival experts say that understanding you need to get your bearings right as quickly as possible is one of the most important things to accomplish. If a lost person does not acknowledge their dire circumstances, then they are more likely to wander into danger and further complicate their lost state. However, if a lost person comes to grips with the reality that they are lost and in danger, then there is at least the ability to turn their attention to humbling themselves and working on how to get out.

In the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, we find Jesus explaining this to His listeners (we are told it is a gathering of His disciples) and subsequently, to us. At the beginning of the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says this…

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3 NIV

What is Jesus saying? We understand poverty as being financially in desperate circumstances, but what does it mean to be poor in spirit?

To be direct, it means those who, within their hearts/souls, know they are spiritually bankrupt/lost.

Jesus says “blessed are” which literally translates to “happy are” the spiritually broke?

That seems so very odd of the Messiah and Savior to say, doesn’t it?

There were several times in my life during that two-year whirlwind of graduate work that the quick awakenings of terror were desperately needed. Sure, most of the time I was overreacting and actually was on the right path and schedule, but on several occasions, I had forgotten something vital and was in a bad position. The startling and jarring moments caused me to find bearings, check due dates, calendars and schedules, and at times, those moments were exactly what was needed to get me on course.
I needed to be awakened to my lost state so I could recover.

“Happy are the spiritually broke”. If a person does not understand they are on a path to destruction, a path to hell where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, then the person will have no urgency or concern about bothering themselves with changing course.
However, when a person is awakened to the danger that the unrepentant soul is not headed towards the joys of heaven, then that awakened state of spiritual bankruptcy is the best place to be, however torturous it may seem at the moment. For it is in the moment of the gripping reality of our sin that we become aware of our need for salvation.

How aware are you of your own desperate need for salvation? Are we blinded by false ideas of God and heaven or hell that we carelessly think all is fine? Or are we awakened, startled even, at the reality of our sinful actions, thoughts, and heart so much so that we want to find a way out? Being lost is no fun, but if the reality and fear of it make us gather our bearings and begin looking for a way out, then we truly are walking the path of the blessed and happy ones before us.