0mJBRSvIt may be the most ubiquitous hashtag on the internet. We use it on every platform. And, of course, it totally transcends every category. Everyone from the 16 year old with a new Lexus SUV to the wife telling the world about her 40th wedding anniversary is #blessed. Of course, for those of us who drove an old pick up truck in high school or who’s first marriage lasted just two years, #blessed cannot mean anything good. We have somehow failed. Our lives have not measured up.

Certainly there are underlying theological implications. We may worry that other people are #blessed by God when we are not. But like a lot of things on social media, its not really about giving credit to our Heavenly Father for the Divine Providence of having a date night (out at Olive Garden with my hubby! #blessed). Instead, it is mostly just another way to posture how #delightful our lives are. When they are in fact, just like everyone else’s lives: wonderful and trying.

“Blessing” and “blessed” can be such loaded words. And I’m not sure that feeling we get when we buy a Pottery Barn couch is #blessed. I’m pretty sure it’s just adrenaline from making a big purchase and perhaps contact high from nice leather. I do not think it has anything to do with what God wants for us. It has everything to do with what we want for us.

The fact is, we are all #blessed by the redemption of the cross. We are rescued, redeemed, and saved. And while this may be hard to keep in focus when we are trying to remind everyone how #blessed we are by our vacation to Turks and Caicos, it is much easier to remember when life is hard. Like deathbed confessions on hospital hallways, it often takes suffering to remind us of the extent of God’s love.

All of this reminds me of my all time favorite gospel song, “Blessing in the Storm.” In it, Kirk Franklin tells it like it is. When we feel helpless and alone, when it feels like the world is against us, that is often when the presence of Jesus feels the most palpable:

When the sickness won’t leave my body
And the pain just won’t leave my soul
I get on my knees and say, “Jesus please”
There’s a blessing in the storm

I have sat at my desk, played this song, and wept on more than one occasion. We are embraced in our struggles. We are loved through our pain. And God knows that even our best attempt to claim #blessed for all the world to see, pales in comparison to the work he has done for us.