Many people like to use the hashtags #blessed or #soblessed when something good happens. I have no problem with that; however, a quick browse of those tags on Twitter reveals some alarming and even blasphemous comments. I will no longer assume that a person saying “I’m blessed” is necessarily Christian. I think there is a bigger issue at stake even among Christians who use the word “blessed” on a regular basis. Psalm 67 says:
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations … God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!”
– vv. 1-2, 7
God doesn’t bless us just to make us happy. He blesses us so that He will be known to be God and people will turn to Him in repentance and faith. And God’s idea of a blessing is often far different from our own. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that the blessed are those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, who are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted (Matthew 5:3-10). When was the last time you told people you were #blessed that way?
#Blessed in a Different Way
Oftentimes, the greatest blessings of faith come through times of trial, pain and suffering. It is when we are weakest that we realize our need for God, and His unfailing love is all the blessing we really need. Through suffering, our faith can be strengthened, our lives can be purified and our witness can be clearly seen. The apostle Paul said, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10a). It’s been said that no one can claim that their faith grew most when life was easy and free from trials, “for the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:3).
With that in mind, here are a few blessings in my life:
- I am blessed with periods of depression, for then I remember that life isn’t about the pursuit of happiness.
- I am blessed with times of loneliness, for then I see what the body of Christ is intended to be.
- I am blessed with singleness, for in isolation I learn to turn my attention to God and His Word.
- I am blessed when God convicts me of sin, because I know it is by grace I have been saved and am being sanctified.
Through blessings such as these I am learning to hunger and thirst for righteousness and to pursue purity of heart, and one day I’ll receive the final blessing of seeing God’s face and being truly satisfied in Him.
By all means, give thanks for the good things in life, but don’t forget the blessings of suffering as well. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Let’s look beyond the blessings of family, friends, homes and jobs to the greater spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ alone.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
– Ephesians 1:3-4a
© 2018 Dawn Rutan. Unless otherwise indicated all images are copyright free from pixabay.com. The opinions stated do not necessarily reflect the views of my church or employer.