Are you blessed? Is your life going well? When you look at yourself, do you feel you’ve gotten more than your fair share of the blessings God bestows on people, or do you feel left out? If you think about it, human self-consciousness is really one big cosmic conversation with God. Whether we acknowledge it as such or even realize it, we constantly reflect back to our Creator what we really think about Him and the life we are living. Granted, our perception of the situation can be misguided and skewed by our lack of understanding of God, reality, and ourselves, but we still have an opinion.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
When I actually take the time to sit down and reflect on my life, I realize that I am incredibly blessed. Yes, there are some genuinely miserable moments I have been and will, in all likelihood, still be allowed to experience, but I understand that they are not because God hates or has abandoned me, but for the purpose of focusing my attention on Him and eternity more, and pulling me away from the things that would interfere with that goal. We love to hear that all things work together for good to those who love God, but do you know the end of that thought? It goes on to say: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30) We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, and ultimately we are glorified in eternity!
Jesus is, you see, in the business of saving us, as the angel told Joseph: “…you are to give him the name Jesus…he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 NIV) This will almost invariably involve trials and hurt which cause us to stop and examine ourselves, turn away from wrong-doing, and call out to God all the more earnestly, ultimately molding us into the image of Jesus. Yet apart from these refining experiences, our Father blesses us with so much more than we deserve or even genuinely need!
Let’s face it–our wants are of monstrous proportions. We dream big, and our desires tend to follow suit. We are not content with what we have, always wanting more, better, or simply different. We are not satisfied to use public transportation; we want our own vehicle–not just one that works, but a newer and more attractive one, and not the cheapest model either! We are not happy that we have a roof over our heads–we want it to be bigger, better, more modern, and so on. And God, in His incredible patience, frequently accommodates us: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NIV) The Father generously gives us, His children, good gifts and these will, at times, include material things as well as spiritual.
And He always provides for us. I am reminded of the early years of our marriage. We had a little baby and had just moved into our new home. It was pretty much empty, because we were just starting out, but after I allocated my husband’s salary among the various envelopes I had set up for our expenses, there was–almost without exception–always enough!
That was about twenty years ago and our home is now fully furnished, and has even been remodeled, but we had to wait. The money for the upgrades, although very welcomed, was entirely unexpected–as if directly from His hand. In hindsight, instead of looking directly at ourselves the moment we were blessed with more we should have more prayerfully determined their allocation, but even this understanding is from Him, and perhaps we will please Him more with our choices next time!
Yet what about those who are still fighting God–who yet stand opposed to His will and what He says, who are at odds with Him because they will not agree with what He says about their sin or turn away from it? God offers no promise of blessing or support to those who set themselves against Him. To the contrary, they invite only His discipline and judgement! We need to read Scripture carefully. All things do not work together for good to all people–ONLY FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD!
As I sit here writing, a branch from a tree top has just crashed down. This one didn’t fall on anything in particular, but there are times when these things happen–when seemingly random branches fall. We attribute it to coincidence, usually because it is difficult to answer the “why?” question, and God’s people are not exempt. Yet, we’ve all seen cartoons of characters who cannot seem to get away from misfortune. Because God’s desire is for everyone to come to Him, He will sometimes allow bad things to happen to direct mankind’s attention to Himself and the spiritual issues that need resolution. Ever notice how people seem to remember God when something terrible happens? After the World Trade Center tragedy, services and prayer groups were formed and publicized; interest eventually waned, but for a while, people remembered that there are things beyond their control and looked to Someone more powerful.
So, are you blessed? Even though you may experience problems–even severe testing–is everything ultimately working together for good in your life because you love Jesus more than anything? Or are you still at odds with Him, shaking your fist as the seemingly random occurrences that cause your world to crumble? Turn toward Him, and be blessed!
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (II Corinthians 5:20)
Thank You that all things really are working together for good in my life because I love You–that in You, I really am blessed! Amen!!!