We all want to be blessed and happy.
May God be gracious to us and bless us;Psalm 67:1-2 (CSB)
may he make his face shine upon us
so that your way may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
I want to be blessed because it makes my life easier or more comfortable. Ease and comfort are the standards that I too often use to assess if I am being blessed. If I am uncomfortable or something is going on in my life which is difficult, I feel like the blessing switch has been turned off.
The verses quoted above remind me that any blessing I receive is not for my comfort or personal benefit. The psalmist reminds us that the purpose of God blessing his people is so that his name will be known and his plan of salvation for all people will be made know.
So then, the blessing is not physical comfort, or at least it is not always physical comfort. My brothers and sisters in the prosperity movement may disagree with this, but it seems consistent with both Scripture and experience.
Jesus himself said that the world will give us trouble (John 16:33). Neither Jesus or the Apostles has given us much reason to suspect that we will get through life without difficulties.
Then there is that whole sheep in the midst of wolves thing. Part of how the world knows that we are different is because we are called to do weird things like love the people that hurt us.
We also know that in many parts of the world, Christians are paying a huge cost to be followers of Jesus. There are places where to claim allegiance to Christ is to invite hostility or death. Are these believers outside of God’s blessing? I think not.
Therefore, the way to evaluate blessing cannot be personal comfort. I have to learn to look beyond the problems to the one that sustains me through the problem.
Jesus hinted at this when he said:
Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.Matthew 10:28 (CSB)
The Gospel tells me that I don’t have to fear God. Furthermore, my confidence in this truth is not based on my performance. My confidence can only be in the the work that Jesus has done for me.
On my own, I am big a whiner as there ever was. But when I allow these truths to sink deep into me, I am becoming less of a whiner.
Thank God for small victories.