Why Am I So Blessed?
Last week, I received a message from a high school friend. She has been a single mom a little longer than I have, suffering a similar situation in her marriage. The message she sent me, however, was very troubling. She had 24 hours to pay her electric bill or have her electricity disconnected, and she was on the verge of being evicted from her home.
You see, my friend has suffered immensely in the last few years—medical problems which have caused her to be unable to work, surgery for which she has no money to pay, excruciating pain that leaves her debilitated. Every day is a struggle for survival. The physical pain is indescribable; the emotional pain and fear is more than she can bear.
As I reflected on my friend’s situation, I began to wonder why my path of single motherhood has been relatively easy. It seems that God’s hand of blessing just pours out over me. From before the adultery and divorce were even revealed, God was preparing the path—I went back to school before the affair ever started, and I finished only two months after the divorce was final. I started a full-time job only weeks after graduating. God provided a house next to my parents through circumstances only He could arrange. I managed to “move up” in my career (and financially) very quickly. I began a blog which, only by God’s divine intervention, has now given me a voice and a ministry that I never dreamed possible.
Why has God opened the storerooms of heaven and poured out such blessings that I don’t have room enough to receive them when my friend (and others) is struggling to survive day after day?
I won’t even pretend to have answers to that question. I certainly won’t tell you that it is because of my actions. That would be a lie because Paul made it clear that God’s grace is a gift that is freely bestowed on us. But, I do believe there are things we can do—attitudes that God is looking for—that will help position us to receive God’s blessings.
At the beginning of this journey, I was angry and ran from God. However, it was a short-lived rebellion (three or four months). As God called me back to Him, I discovered that the very core of my being is my relationship with Christ. I asked Christ to be my Savior at the age of six, and I never looked back. My relationship with Christ has always been the center of my life.
As I returned to my foundation, I chose to surrender to this unwelcome journey. I looked to Job, and I remember telling a friend, “I have accepted God’s hand of blessing all of my life; who am I to say that I won’t accept the trials of this life.”
I may never fully understand why this path is the one that God chose for me. However, I will choose to allow Him to use the trials of this life to mold me into His image. Scripture repeatedly tells us that the trials of this life are used to mature us, to bring us into a closer relationship with our Savior. I can testify that my relationship with God as a result of these trials is far sweeter than ever before!
Give Him my heart.
When Samuel went to Jesse’s family to anoint the next king, he was looking at Jesse’s sons. Samuel looked at Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son, and thought he had found the next king.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
You see, God isn’t interested in our outward appearance. God’s primary concern isn’t even our outward actions. God’s number one concern is the condition of our hearts.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45
The condition of our heart determines our words and our actions. God knows that if we give Him our heart, we will walk in obedience. When our hearts are fully His, we are in a position to experience His blessings.
As I meditated on this concept, my mind was drawn to the Beatitudes. The sixth beatitude states that the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). I’ve always thought of this scripture in light of seeing God in eternity. However, I began to wonder if it applies to us on this earth. I know that God is working in the life of every believer, but sometimes we (including me) miss His hand. We fail to recognize His work in our lives—or we take credit for it. Is it possible that having a pure heart allows us to be more aware of God’s work all around us? I know that when I can see God actively working, it gives me hope for the future, it lifts my spirit. When I can see God working, I am more likely to trust His promises, to see my faith built.
Is your heart hard and unable to accept God’s blessings? Remember that God promises in Ezekiel that He will replace your hardened heart.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
When God has replaced our heart of stone with a heart of flesh, when He has purified our heart so that we can see His hand around us, He wants our obedience. We all have heard John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But, notice the word then? Something must precede this scripture. If you go back to verse 31, you find when we will know the truth:
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
It is only when we are faithful to His teachings—obey His word—that we find the truth.
Let’s look at another scripture:
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:22-25
If you do what the word says, then God will bless you. Throughout scripture, God tells us that He wants to bless us. He blesses the obedient. What things do we know we must do to be obedient? Forgive. Love unconditionally. Be kind. Perhaps Micah 6:8 sums it up best:
the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
So, then I will be blessed?
Yes! Your life will be blessed. Will your life be perfect and everything go smoothly if you surrender, give Him your heart, and walk in obedience? No!
God is an individual God. God knows exactly what you need to move you into a deeper relationship with Him—and He knows me well enough to know what I need to move me closer to Him. Sometimes—perhaps oftentimes—it is the trials of this life that He uses to conform us to His image. We must simply trust Him and the way He chooses to work in our lives—even when we don’t understand. We must surrender to His way. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).
God’s requirement is only that we seek Him with our whole heart. He promises that when we do, He will be found. He tells us to focus all our attention on Him. When we do, He tells us that He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).
And therein lies the key: If our focus is on Him, He will keep us in perfect peace—even as we trudge through the difficult and painful days. We will be able to walk through the storms surrounded by the peace that surpasses all understanding. We will be a testimony for Him of His goodness and grace.
Lord Jesus, my heart aches for all my friends who are struggling through the storms of this life—those who feel as if they just can’t catch a break. I pray that you would give them an extra dose of your perfect peace today. Help them to sense your love and desire a deeper walk with you. Open their eyes to your goodness and grace and blessings that you have poured out on their lives. Make them more aware of the many ways you have cared for and protected them through their storms. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen.