Monday, January 6, 2014

Blessings. Have We Got It All Wrong?

Since the building of our home, people have said things like...

"Oh, you're so blessed!"

"What a great blessing!"

"Wow, God has blessed you so much!"

And it's true. The home is a blessing and one, no doubt, given by God. My car is a blessing. Having enough food is a blessing. Our two healthy children is a blessing. Sometimes I sit and want to cry because I know we don't deserve such good gifts like this, yet God saw fit to give them to us anyway. It's incredibly humbling. 

But I've had this one permeating thought for weeks now: Have we got it all wrong?

People mean well when they say what they do, but I can't help but wonder if we have the term "blessings" and its definition completely backwards.

See, I grew up in a drafty 100-year-old farm house that occasionally leaked and wasn't fully insulated. I remember cold winter mornings when we huddled by the fire that my parents had gotten up early to build. When I was small, I remember being told "no" to various toys and candy in the stores, not just because my parents didn't want me to be spoiled, but simply because they couldn't afford to splurge on a $2 bag of assorted chocolate. My most memorable Christmas as a child was when my only gifts were a set of two remote-controlled race cars and a jumbo pack of my favorite juice. You know what, though? It was a blessing. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. I still remember my Dad and I sipping juice on the living room floor as we raced our cars. They raised us in a home that may have been cold in the winter and hot in the summer, but it was a home full of love, laughter, and Jesus. And that makes them the richest people I know.

Things like that....the lack of things, I mean.... they are blessings.

Now don't get me wrong. There is nothing the matter with having a comfortable home or being able to pay your bills. That's not what I'm saying. I'm simply asking the question, do we have it all wrong?

What about those who don't drive new cars?  

What about the families who have more than one child with some sort of disability? 

Those who seriously struggle to pay their bills?

The people who are suffering with constant or life-threatening health issues?

What about that? Are they "less blessed" than others? 

In my opinion, sometimes it is those very people who are far richer in ways that count. It's good to be blessed with difficulty. And isn't it FIRE that refines? Isn't it heat that melts and makes soft and enables something to be molded? I'm not saying everybody should try and be sick or poor, because Scripture proves that God uses all things and all circumstances. He uses the poor, the rich, the sick, the healthy, even the dead! I'm simply saying that I believe everything is a blessing, not just the easy or the pretty things.

One of my friends and I were chatting about this recently and she said, "The heavenly blessings are often more through the fire, but THEY are the ones that are refined to gold. Yet somehow we fail to mention or recognize them most of the time."

So true. 

I am deeply grateful to God for the blessing of a new home. But I also know that whatever He gives is not mine. It's His and should be used for His work. Along with that, I am also grateful to God for each and every physically uncomfortable circumstance because it reminds me not to set my affections on things here on earth or to place my treasure on material niceties, but to point myself to my home where Jesus is. If all was taken away, His name is still to be blessed and praised.  

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

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