A Benedictine nun, Sister Ruth Fox (Sacred Heart Monastery in Dickinson, ND) wrote this “non-traditional blessing” in 1985: 

  • May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.
  • May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.
  • May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.
  • May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.

We rarely think of discontent, anger, tears, and foolishness as blessings. Yet this unusual benediction bluntly reminds us that those are the very things we need if we hope to make a difference in this world. 

I think that Americans are cursed with a microwave mentality about life. The microwave oven (a marvelous invention) has become a metaphor for modern life. It represents what’s fast, convenient, and easy. 

The pace of life is fast and furious, and for this reason we would prefer convenient and easy solutions to our problems. However, the most important things in life don’t come easily, cheaply, or quickly. That’s why the Bible places a high premium on things like perseverance, patience, hope, and even suffering.

In Ecclesiastes 7.1-3, Solomon agreed with this rather harsh view of life:

  • “The day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth…”
  • “It is better to go to a house of mourning than a house of feasting…”
  • “Sorrow is better than laughter…” 

Solomon wasn’t playing the Devil’s advocate. Solomon said these things because they’re true. They’re the realities of human existence. We learn lessons from suffering, privation, and hardship that we can’t learn in any other way. 

I won’t end this devotional by wishing you a lousy day! But my prayer for you this day is that you have just enough difficulties, just enough reality, to see things for what they are, to learn what you should learn, and to do what you can to make a difference.