How The Meek Inherit The Earth (Now)

girl meek at peace enjoying outside

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 

—Matthew 5:5

We cannot see the world as God means it in the future, save as our souls are characterized by meekness. In meekness, we are its only inheritors. Meekness alone makes the spiritual retina pure to receive God’s things as they are, mingling with them neither imperfection nor impurity.  

—George MacDonald

What did Jesus mean when He promised that the meek would “inherit the land”?

It must include heaven: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells,” (2 Peter 3:13). But as I research the last chapters of the meekness book, I’m starting to see that the inheritance starts here and now.

Here are three ways the meek may inherit this present earth.

1. The meek inherit the earth when they enjoy what they have. 

This side of heaven, we may have little. But it is still the abundant life that Jesus came to bring (John 10:10). Matthew Henry explained that the meek, “inherit the earth in that they are sure to have as much of it as is good for them: as much as will serve to bear them through this world to a better; and who would covet more? Enough is as good as a feast.” 

To the meek, everyday mercies appear as wonders. The sunset and the rain, the laughter of a child and the breeze on your face, good sleep and sweet tastes—to receive these with wonder is part of the inheriting promise of meekness. The meek have that “pure spiritual retina” that allows them “to receive God’s things as they are.” They are not blind to God’s gifts. Thus, as Matthew Henry wrote, they “have the most comfortable, undisturbed enjoyment of themselves, their friends, their God.” They trace the Father’s hand in the common grace that others take for granted. 

The meek man is thankful, happy, and content, and it is contentment that makes life enjoyable,” C.H. Spurgeon wrote that in a sermon on the meek. Then he told this story,

Here comes a man home to his dinner; he bows his head, and says, “Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful,” then opens his eyes, and grumbles, “What! Cold mutton again?” His spirit is very different from that of the good old Christian who, when he reached home, found two herrings and two or three potatoes on the table, and pronounced over them this blessing, ‘Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have ransacked both earth and sea to find us this food.’ His dinner was not as good as the other man’s, but he was content with it, and that made it better. 

The meek soul is pleased with whatever God is pleased to give. We inherit the earth as we learn to say, What pleases God must not displease me. The meek inherit the earth when they enjoy what they have.

The meek man is thankful, happy, and content, and it is contentment that makes life enjoyable.

C.H. Spurgeon

2. The meek inherit the earth when they enjoy even what they do not own. 

I enjoy gardens and pools and boats. But, apart from a few patches of shade-loving flowers, I don’t own any of them. Yet I relish summertime in my parents’ huge gardens, my friend’s ski boat, and another friend’s pool. I don’t own the garden, pool, or boat. But I enjoy them.

Izaak Walton lived in 16th-century England and wrote,  

I could sit there quietly, and look at the waters and see fishes leaping at flies of several shapes and colors. Looking down the meadows, I could see a boy gathering lilies and and a girl cropping columbines and cowslips […] As I thus sat, enjoying my own happy condition, I did remember what my Saviour said, that the meek inherit the earth.

This kind of enjoyment is not mooching. It is humble, thankful meekness. I borrow again from Spurgeon,

Even the possessions of other men make these people glad. They are like the man who met a mandarin in China covered with jewels, and, bowing to him, said, “Thank you for those jewels.” Doing this many times, at last the mandarin asked the cause of his gratitude. “Well,” said the poor but wise man, “I thank you that you have those jewels, for I have as good a sight of them as you have; but I have not the trouble of wearing them, putting them on in the morning, taking them off at night, and having a watchman keeping guard over them when I am asleep. I thank you for them; they are as much use to me as they are to you.

The meek inherit the earth when they freely enjoy what they don’t own. 

3. The meek inherit the earth when they not only enjoy whatever they have and what others have, but when they are glad that others have been given the gifts they have.

The meek take pleasure in God’s gifts to others. When we learn to rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15a) we have a constant source of joy. Admittedly, to celebrate a friend’s marriage or pregnancy, when you’d love to be married or pregnant is supernatural. To rejoice with a friend who landed your dream job or the book contract you’ve worked for is meek. It is a gift of God. To celebrate like this is, in one word, to DIGLI

I’ll explain DIGLI in a minute. But first, do you remember the parable of the vineyard owner? He hired workers at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5 p.m. Then he gave them all the same exact pay. It’s in Matthew 20 verses 10 through 15, and here’s how it ends: 

Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’

We read how the guys who worked twelve hours got the same amount as those who worked one hour, and naturally we’re stunned. Really, Jesus? That seems so unfair!

But wise parents and teachers tell their kids, Fair isn’t equal. It’s getting what you need. In His wisdom, God deemed that those vastly unequal hourly rates were exactly right, because, as author Lief Enger wrote, Fair is whatever God wants to do. 

Jesus Did Not Say, “The Envious Will Inherit The Earth”

The parable helps us understand what theologian and author Joe Rigney meant when he said, “God loves inequality…In terms of gifts, talents, abilities, opportunities, blessings, God is unequally lavish, at least according to our standards, and that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” 

Contrary to popular opinion, inequality of gifts does not need a fix. Author Dorothy Sayers wrote, “Envy is the great leveler.” It opposes meekness and it always levels down. Envy would have us lower the blessing bar to the lowest common denominator. If I can’t make a six-figure income, you shouldn’t either. If my kid can’t be a champ, yours shouldn’t be either. This is not meek. The envious will not inherit the earth. 

Which brings us back to the meek who inherit this present earth as they DIGLI. I coined the term in the midst of my own struggle to put on meekness and put off envy and discontent (Colossians 3:5-13). I needed a word to express that generous, free state of heart. Hence, DIGLI, an acronym for “delight in God’s lavish inequality.” Clearly this is not a natural dance or stance. Only the meek can DIGLI. 

Discontent spreads when we begrudge God’s generosity to others. But the meek trust that God is giving us exactly what we need to conform us to the image of Christ—even if it doesn’t make sense now. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11). The meek believe this.

When her grandkids compare then complain, my mom will say, “Stay in your own lane.” The meek train themselves to run life’s race in their own lane. They learn to trust God to give whatever is good, even when it doesn’t seem fair. 

By grace, the meek train themselves to place all things in God’s hands and then find that God places all things back into their hands. And if we have eyes to see, that delightful exchange might just start now.

Christian meekness cools the heat of passion. Meekness of spirit not only fits us for communion with God—but for civil converse with men; and thus among all the graces it holds first place.  

—Thomas Watson

When I Am Afraid: Denial or Peace?

Woman trusting not in denial in peace

Are you in denial? It doesn’t seem like you’re taking this seriously. Do you realize what’s going on?

Actually, I don’t know for sure what’s going on. I do know that surgery is scheduled and that the doctor expects it will explain the seriousness and cause of this pain.

There are moments when waves of “worst-case scenarios” and “ugly what-if’s” wash over me. But mostly, without the barrage of second-guessers wondering if I’m being too cavalier or “trusting,” there’s peace.

Only Two Choices

When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.

That is Psalm 56 verse 3. Notice, the verse doesn’t say, “I’m never afraid because I trust in you.” It says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” David was not in denial. He wrote the Psalm “when the Philistines captured him in Gath.” That colorful episode is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. In enemy hands, David was alone, desperate, and afraid. And he put his trust in God.

I put my trust in you means we choose to trust. We choose to stand on the promises of God. But that doesn’t mean we don’t fear. In his comments on Psalm 56, C.H. Spurgeon observed, “He feared, but that fear did not fill the whole area of his mind, for he adds, ‘I will trust in thee.’ David chose trust when he was afraid. We must choose trust when we are afraid.

Because, as Elisabeth Elliot explained, there are really only two choices: You either trust God, or you don’t trust God.

There are really only two choices. You either trust God, or you don’t trust God.

Elisabeth Elliot

Something More Important Than Fear

Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” Taking God at his word is more important than fear.

In Matthew 24 verse 6, Jesus said, You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. Don’t be alarmed, He said. Fear not, he said. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that a lot.

This is either the statement of a madman or of the being who has power to put some thing into a man and keep him free from panic, even in the midst of the awful terror of war…Our Lord teaches us to look things full in the face. He says – “when you hear of wars, don’t be scared.“ It is the most natural thing in the world to be scared, and the clearest evidence that God‘s grace is at work in our hearts is when we do not get into panics.”

Oswald Chambers, Shadow of an Agony

I’m not in denial, but I’m also not immune from “panics.” By grace, I want to “look things full in face.”

Can God Really Fulfill His Word?

Years ago, I heard Elisabeth Elliot in an old recording that struck me. I transcribed portions, and have returned to it these past few weeks when I wondered about repression and denial.

Shortly after her husband Jim was murdered, Elisabeth received a concerned letter from her mother-in-law. It said,

She was very much afraid that I was repressing my feelings, that it wasn’t normal the way I was reacting and just carrying on that I was just trying to be busy and maybe I was burying myself in my work. And she said, “Eventually you’re going to crack.”

Well then, all of a sudden my peace disappeared, and I began to say, “Is she right? Is there really no such thing as the peace that passes understanding? Can God really fulfill His Word?

I kept going back again and again to the promises that God had given me, and I had to write them there in my journal day after day. God was giving me promises which enabled me to get through.

Was Elisabeth in denial? Am I in denial?

I think not. I think it’s called trust.

Did He Not Promise?

Did He not promise that He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in Him (Isaiah 26:3)?

And did He not promise that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds when with thanks we make our requests known to Him (Philippians 4:7)?

Did He not promise great peace have they who love his law (Psalm 119:165)?

Is there steadfast men who have no fear of bad news (Psalm 112:7), and a strong women who can laugh at the days to come (Proverbs 31:25)—not because they’re in denial or never afraid, but because they trust in God?

So no, just because we’re not in a perpetual panicky hot mess, even when we are afraid, it doesn’t mean we’re in denial.

It might just mean that God‘s promises are true. The peace that passes all understanding is a real thing.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

First the Deer: Then the Rest

fawn at rest in daisies

We hit a new low in our home this week. On Monday, strong grace led me to a place I never wanted to go.

But First The Deer

But I’m not writing for sympathy. I’m writing to tell you that the God is good. He gives peace. He gives rest. I’m not whistling Dixie.

I had not been in a court room since jury duty 14 years ago. For love’s sake, Monday I went.

But first, the deer. I was dressing for court when I glanced out the bedroom window and saw her.

The little deer wandered through, perused the blooms, then nestled right in. She lay down. The fawn found rest in those bright white daisies.

Then The Rest

As she did, I stole over and snapped these. I heard a few short snorts. Mama was near.

Five minutes later, I was was on the way to the courthouse. That story is still unfolding. This chapter is more soul-stretching than any God’s granted me yet. I won’t sugarcoat.

But I will say, God gives rest. He is the Prince of Peace. His anxiety cure is tried and true. I lie down and sleep in peace. He provided this quiet fawn moments before my hard hour on a harder bench. I don’t think I’m in denial.

I just want you to know God’s Word is true.

5 Favorite Rest Verses

Which verse can you take for your own? Or is there another you go to? Would you drop it in the comments?

1. My soul finds rest in God alone my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

2. Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

3. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell and safety. Psalm 4:8

4. You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

5. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters. Psalm 23:23:1-2

Will you lean into these? With me?

Lean In, Lie Down, And Sleep

I know this water might get faster, deeper, stronger. I might sink lower. After Monday, I’d be naive to think we’re clear sailing.

But as I said in Monday’s SOS texts, “those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.” They don’t. They lie down and sleep in peace. They rest. We rest. We lie down in green pastures and fields of daisies.

The fawn knew her deer mother was watching, close. We know our good Father is watching, his Spirit with us.

My soul finds rest in God alone. No good thing does he withhold.

So child, will you rest? With me?

Not Mine To Hold: Lots, Portions & The Gift of Letting Go

Would you rather listen than read? Great! Here’s the link to the Keep On With Abigail Wallace podcast.

I’m not good at letting go. Sometimes I hold on to dreams that aren’t God’s plan for me. For better and for worse, I am the bee—the busy bee that won’t rest until it extracts sweet nectar from every flower. I look for the good.

But I am also the frantically, futilely buzzing bee,*

That booms against the window-pane for hours

Thinking that the way to reach the laden flowers.

Yes, for better and worse, I am that bee. I hold on to dreams that aren’t God’s plan for me. I’m not good at letting go.

Triggers and Portions

This May everything triggers me. Because this spring more of my long-term, sweet parenting dreams have been dashed. Which means every graduation picture, academic award, and smiling family is a trigger. God’s good gifts to others are not guaranteed to me. They’re not my portion.

But what is a “portion” anyway?

In the Bible the term was sometimes translated “inheritance,” as in the allotment of land God gave to Israel when they entered the Promised Land. All the tribes received a physical space, land to call their own—all except one.

In Deuteronomy 10:9, we read about the priestly tribe whose portion was not land, but the LORD. “Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God said to him.”

The Bible has a lot to say about the Lord who is our portion.

  • The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. Psalm 16:5
  • You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words. Psalm 119:57
  • I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5
  • My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
  • “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:24

I want to count it joy that the LORD—not successful sons, or a famous husband or a thriving ministry— is my portion. My chosen portion. I want to believe, I do believe, what Elisabeth Elliot said, that what God does to me, he does for me.

Which means I must stop buzzing at the window and choose to hope in him to receive the lot for me.

How to Reframe Pain Points to Trigger Your Joy

This blog is for softer, stronger saints who embrace—not just survive, but embrace; not just go through, but grow through—God’s sometimes uncomfortable grace. It’s about a faith that can reframe trials as joy. It’s about using our pain points—like upbeat posts of what is not our lot—to prompt us to take joy in what is our assigned portion.

This is just another way we count loss as gain. We do feel the loss, and can grieve what is not. But then we do the 90-second reset, and reframe the pain with a truth script. It might sound something like this:

The Lord is my portion. I will sit at Jesus’ feet. I choose the good portion that can never be taken (Luke 10:42).

By grace and with effort, we can use the triggers to push us to the One who is wisely working all things (Ephesians 1:11, Romans 8:28) and who will perfect that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8). We can choose to renew our minds with truth.

Can we use our “triggers” not to set-off envy, self-pity or grief in our lot, but to push us to the perfect portion we’ve got?

Self-Inflicted Pain

I used to think letting go was weak and grasping dreams was strong.

To be sure, sometimes clinging is strong—like when Abraham “hoped against hope” that he and Sarah would bear a promised child. But Abraham had a sure and personal promise from God. These sort of dreams we must never release.

But I’m talking about my personal dreams, the ones that become nightmares as they crumble.

Mary Lowman explored the “the gift of letting go” in her podcast this month. She says letting go of these five things—our past, the small stuff, the desire for revenge or have control, and, yes, our dreams—is both freeing and peace-giving. I agree.

But there’s one more thing she said keeps looping through my head. It did when, in my garage, I heard that buzzing bee. When I let go of a dream, I realized how much of my pain was self-inflicted. Which reminds me of what Jonah prayed in the fish’s belly, Those who cling to worthless idols [read: my mama dreams] forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

This month I feel that. And I don’t want to forfeit God’s grace.

The Strength Of Letting Go

Now I see strength of character revealed in those who let go of personal dreams. They don’t cling.

These friends have freedom and peace. They refuse to allow a dream hold their joy captive. They refuse to let “the givens” and “the not givens” steal their peace. These people live like the Lord is their portion—not will be their portion, but is, right now, today.

Whether or not a husband, wife, or children, health, wealth, or house, graduation or award are given, these meek people have chosen their lot and in it, they find peace.

These quiet, strong saints know how to let go.

Not Mine To Hold

Elizabeth Elliott wrote,

I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things which happened to us which do not belong to our lovingly assigned portion? Are some things then, out of the control of the Almighty?

Keep A Quiet Heart

Heaven is not here, it’s there. If all my dreams were fulfilled this side of heaven, I might settle for this world rather than the next. I forfeit God’s grace if I keep buzzing at the windowpane, if I don’t let go of my dreams.

I don’t hold my lot. The Lord holds my lot. He is my portion. In him, not in my accomplishment or my sons’ success, is my portion.

The portion he gives is best. So I will let go, trust God and rest.

The Bee I Shall Be

I write a lot about bees—bees elegantly working and critically stinging, futilely buzzing and unfairly stinging. But today it was about bees who stop buzzing.

So can you guess what happened after this last, wing-weary bee video I filmed in my garage?

I gently took the bee off in a tissue and shook him out into his lot, which happens to be a yard full of thousands of blooming daisies.

* * * * *

I was the triggered, buzzing bee and, so help my God, I shall be the quiet, free bee.

Because left to my own will—clinging to my dreams, ignoring my portion, and outside my lot—I would have died upon the windowsill.

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15

*‘If we could speak to her,’ my doctor said,

‘And tell her, “Not that way! All, all in vain

You weary out wings and bruise your head,”

Might she not answer, buzzing at the pane,

“Let queens and mystics and religious bees

Talk of such inconceivables as glass;

the blunt lay worker flies at what she sees,

Look there – ahead, ahead – the flowers, the grass!

”We catch her in a handkerchief (who knows

What rage she feels, what terror, what despair?)

And shake her out – and gaily out she goes

Where quivering flowers and thick in summer air,

To drink their hearts. But left to her own will

She would have died upon the window-sill.

– C.S. Lewis, Poems

Bee letting go and sipping nectar from daisy
Released & Free