IVP - Strangely Dim - Mixed Blessing

January 23, 2007

Mixed Blessing

My fellow blogger Lisa Rieck found this Franciscan blessing in the book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey. She shared it with me, and I wanted to share it with you. The Franciscans are known best, perhaps, for living simply out of solidarity with those in need. But they also have a way with words that I regularly covet:

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

I like the blessing; it gets you thinking in a way that requires a response. I'm reminded of the words of the less artful Henry Pym, Marvel Comics' "Ant-Man," in the epic miniseries The Kree-Skrull War: "Think! And, having thought, act!"

So, how has God been blessing you lately? With discomfort? With anger? With tears? What do you hope will come of those blessings?

For myself, I'm hoping for an extra shot of foolishness.

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at January 23, 2007 9:16 AM Bookmark and Share


This is a great blessing. Thanks for sharing it.

I find myself getting angry and teary when I hear news stories about people suffering injustice, particularly children. I heard a story on NPR about children being abducted in India, the horrible things they go through and how their parents, who are already poor, borrow large sums of money to try and find their kids. I was so angry and I cried all the way home praying for God to do something.

The difficult part is the acting. I have very little idea of what I can do to help. The things I am doing seem so small in comparison to the great need. So I do the little I know to do and keep praying. And hopefully, through prayer others will be helped and my heart will be tuned to opportunities God may provide for me to act.

Comment by: Ellen at January 24, 2007 8:58 AM

What?!! You mean there's a better way than to just instinctively shake off all uncomfortable feelings? ...That there is a higher call than, "Don't worry; be happy?"

But what good can I possibly do, since I am just one insignificant little fish in this vast ocean?

Comment by: Craver-VII at January 24, 2007 11:13 AM

I would really like to explore the concept of solidarity more deeply than I have. It was an incredibly important theme when I was a kid, with the pope reflecting theologically about the workers' solidarity movement in Poland, which ultimately contributed to the collapse of Communism in Europe. I was just a kid in Des Moines, but somehow I was bound both by identity and by responsibility to the struggle taking place across the world. Prayer strikes me as a pretty profound act of solidarity, but especially in a globalized economy there are undoubtedly ways to behave in solidarity with the poor and the oppressed, even out here in the ridiculously wealthy suburbs.

Comment by: Dave at January 24, 2007 11:46 AM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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