Blessed are the meek...

  1. humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
  2. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.
  3. gentle, kind.
Synonyms: forbearing; yielding; unassuming; pacific, calm, soft.

No one has ever accused me of being meek. It is interesting to me that, just when I am sure I have surrendered all to Christ's control and wise oversight in a particular trial, my lack of meekness rears it's ugly head. Last week was a perfect example of this. I felt overwhelmed by my life - just the normal stuff, not even cancer. Four kids, hard-working husband who was absent most of the week, viruses, difficulty with naps, trying to fit in schoolwork and also be a good housewife...just the usual, everyday life sort of thing had me pretty upset. I threw the adult version of a tantrum for most of the week - for me this means giving people the silent treatment (because I am too close to breaking to speak kindly to them), crying more than usual, ranting at God, and generally doing a poor job emotionally. I think part of the problem is that I am dealing with my illness in layers (like an onion, as they say in Shrek, things aren't as they seem on the surface). Having cancer is the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back". It puts me so close to the edge of my ability to cope, any little added stress puts me over the edge.

How do I deal with this knowledge? Does God use the meek very much, anyway? I am thinking of "meek" in terms of the 2nd definition above: "overly submissive, compliant, spiritless, tame". I can't think of a character in the Bible (or very many living humans I know, for that matter) who fits this definition. No, I don't think many of the late Bible greats are meek by this definition. I am certainly not! I was just not wired that way. I think it is a falsehood of today's Christianity that 'growing as a Christian' means becoming more like this definition. I disagree - I don't think spiritless, tame people get much accomplished! Yet, what about Matthew 5:5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew Henry, the great commentator and theologian, has this to say about this passage:
  • "The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world...Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances."
By his definition, meekness is the choice to obey and place myself under God; tolerate the little offenses and injuries I experience; patiently awaiting my "blessed Hope" with the understanding that there is little in my life that is truly under my control. I would be happy to bear this mantle of meekness, indeed! If I could strive toward the goal of achieving this sort of meekness, how much better my life would be, and the lives of those I touch - especially my children and husband.

John Wesley, in his Notes on the Bible, characterizes the meek of Matthew 5:5 as "
they that hold all their passions and affections evenly balanced". The Greek word translated "meek" is πραεῖς, "praus", translated "humble, mild, or meek". In all it's forms, this Greek word occurs four times in the New Testament, in Matthew 5:5 and three other verses. Here they are:
  • "...learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart" (Jesus, describing Himself in Mt. 11:29)
  • "...behold, your King comes to you, humble, and riding on a donkey" (Jesus, again describing Himself in Mt. 21:5)
  • "...the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." (description of true beauty in I Peter 3:4)
If I choose meekness, pursue meekness, I am attempting to emulate one of the many characteristics of my God, Christ, who humbled Himself innumerable times on my behalf. The Hebrew word, עַל־רֹב, "anav", means "depressed in mind (gentle) or circumstances (needy, saintly) - humble, lowly, meek, poor". I am certainly depressed in circumstances at this moment of my life, and need to strive to align my mind (choices) with my circumstances (situation). I need to surrender my spirit, my fight, my vigor, and place those traits UNDER Christ in submission so that He may use them for His glory through my response to this trial.

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

Hillsong, Mighty to Save

For further study on meekness, see these references:
a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked (James 3:13). Peculiar promises are made to the meek (Matt. 5:5; Isa. 66:2). The cultivation of this spirit is enjoined (Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 6:11; Zeph. 2:3), and is exemplified in Christ (Matt. 11:29), Abraham (Gen. 13; 16:5, 6) Moses (Num. 12:3), David (Zech. 12:8; 2 Sam. 16:10, 12), and Paul (1 Cor. 9:19).