Jesus begins his most famous teaching, The Sermon on the Mount, with the Beatitudes, meaning blessing. So to begin this new year, we’ll be sharing seven stories of God’s blessing in our lives.

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’
Matthew 5:3

This story starts with me crying on my bed.

I could go into all the reasons why but that’s not the story I want to tell. What is important is that I had come to the end of my abilities. It only took six months. My tiny kingdom of reliance on myself had been swept away. Along with it went my happy go lucky spiritual life. It happened so fast that I didn’t have time to be disillusioned with God in the cool coffee shop sort of way. Nope, I was sideswiped and disoriented, angry and out of control.

Friends were nice enough and would listen but there were no tidy solutions. I was in freefall – no physical resources and no spiritual grounding. This went on for a while, then a bit more time passed and then some more. Every bit of time that passed made God seem more confusing and distant.

Then one night I received my last bit of bad news.

It felt like too much to bear and I fell on my bed. I put my face in my pillow and I wept. These tears carried me late into the night until they were no more, and I was left with anger, all I could do was scream. No words just a scream. The screams of feeling let down by both God and myself. After who knows how long I hoarsely prayed. ‘God, I got nothing. I need you.’

A holy thing happened on my bed that night. Right down deep inside me beyond all the ego and pride. Beyond my ability and understanding. Right down into a place of need that I didn’t even know existed, there God came. God occupied the space where I had made a kingdom with my own hands. A kingdom that when the curtain was pulled back was nothing more than a void. God was present in my poverty. Life didn’t change overnight but it was different.

Writing this now with tears in my eyes twelve years past that moment. I can see how many times I’ve continually tried to build my own kingdom. Once again, I come to that place and pray. ‘God, I got nothing. I need you.’

John white is from America but now lives in the UK. He is married to Pippa with two children Zoe and Will. John is a pioneer curate in Bristol at St. Mary’s Stoke Bishop. He is also the director of Common Hope
, a community designed to enable confident mission in the local church. For fun, John does stand-up comedy at open mic nights.   
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