“The great danger of riches is that our affections will be carried away from God to His gifts.”
Blessings. What is a blessing, and how does God bless? These are questions that, living in America and surrounded by the material wealth that we ALL are, we must ask ourselves. According to Wikipedia, the prosperity gospel is, “a Christian religious doctrine that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will increase one’s material wealth”. This makes me feel sick to my stomach, as this prosperity gospel is in fact no gospel at all. True, in the Old Testament, God sometimes did send material blessings on His people as a way to show them that He loved them and was with them. There are also times in which His people had to trust Him when things were not tangibly thriving:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior“. (emphasis mine, Habakkuk 3:17-18a)
Through stories like those of Daniel, Esther, and Job, the Lord began to show His people that they could trust God and know they were blessed even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.
In the New Testament, there is no instance that I am aware of that discusses material blessing as the way God chooses to bless His people. In fact, it appears that things are the opposite. Jesus Himself did not have a home, and the disciples were called to leave all their possessions in order to find true life. The word blessing is used 44 times in the New Testament, and 31 of those times involve God saying people are blessed due to characteristics or traits of God; 11 of those are based on Christ followers being blessed for the kingdom of God and its promised coming. All that being said, it is clear that spiritual blessing, true, eternal blessing, is based on something much deeper than the “stuff” in our lives. It is also clear that just because we follow Christ, does not mean He will satisfy all our temporary wants. The opposite tends to be more true. God promises to meet all of our needs; but many times following Him calls us to lay down our material and temporary desires for something greater.
I say this all because as you read through this blog, I want to make it clear that I do not think that God is a genie in a bottle who we rub the right way and get what we want from; no. The purpose of this blog is to encourage you that God is in the details and that we serve a God who is constantly working and is for us in all things.
It has been a hard year both emotionally and financially for our family. I took this picture last winter; as it depicted so much of how my heart felt: God’s light continuing to shine in the midst of a hard winter. We have been provided for in all of the ways we need, and have had the support of so many, but tough is certainly accurate for where we have been. When we found out we had to move, and that the move was going to need to be in a more expensive part of town, we were trusting but curious as to how things would play out.
For as many things as we have had to wait for recently, the Lord graciously did not make us wait to sell our home. Two days on the market and it had been sold. There are many details that I am leaving out for the sake of length, but the provision given in the home we found is nothing short of God’s grace.
Meet our new home. We were fully prepared to live in whatever home we could find, and fully prepared to have less space or less amenities. Through a strain of amazing details, God sent some incredible “for sale by owners” that felt drawn to our family and were determined to sell us their house in whatever way we could make happen. Not only is this home set off in the woods and unbelievably peaceful, it is in the right school district as well. Did I mention it has a bedroom on the main level and a wheelchair ramp in the back? God is in the details, friends.
Again, I want to make something clear. Is this some crazy mansion with all the things I would ever want in a home and more? No. I am thankful God did not put that at our feet; for I am sure the temptation would be to focus on the gift and not the Giver. It has been, however, a sweet reminder that God is with us, He is for us, and He wants to give us peace and rest. And, as the Israelites were continually reminded that God was the God that brought them out of Egypt and continued to bring them to Himself, I pray this home continues to be just that for us: a reminder that He knows us, loves us, and delights in showing us Himself.
Friends, I have a strong request of you today. Take a trip back, look around you, and see the ways that God has showed you His heart. It is in the form of His Word, His people, His unexpected surprises, His provision in different seasons. And, don’t just look at the happy times or easy things. Look at the hards, too. See the ways that He has given blessing through trials; intimacy with Him through tears. He is constantly blessing us in mysterious ways, and His desire is that we would see Him in it all and bring praise.
It can be hard to view all things in the same light, and I will be the first to say it. It is much easier to see the provision of a peaceful home as a blessing than it is to see the mutation in a gene as a blessing; but easy or not, let it be true in our hearts. With open hands, let’s not be afraid to thank Him for all things. Let’s boast in Him and point to Him as the Giver of all good things, even those things that we fight to see as so. Especially those things.
The unknowns continue to pile up; and I am fighting hard to see Him in it all. This week holds continued testing, continued appointments, continued therapies…blessings. It holds friends to hold our hands along the way and lift us up when we cannot stand…blessings. It holds potential confirmation of answers, potential confirmation of more questions…blessings. It holds laughs, smiles, tears, and frustration…blessings. All blessings when filtered through His loving hands. And, as I sit here in our new home, cartoons playing, coffee in hand, beautiful fall trees in view, I breathe in His mercies to see it all through His eyes. My prayer for you today is that you would be able to see His love for you in whatever He has brought to the table. That you would bow your head and give thanks to the One who is always working and always loving with a never-ending, constantly pursuing, all-powerful love. And, when you cannot find the strength to do so, I pray you would rely on His grace to carry you through. His love knows no boundaries, dear one.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”- 1 Corinthians 15:57