For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I've been thinking about two different aspects of blessings that we often get very wrong. Of course, we get them wrong because of where we live; namely, here in America, or the West, where things are prosperous and our idea of poor is someone who can't afford an iPad (I'm poor, btw. ;D).

Anyway, my thoughts began on Sunday, for two different reasons. First, I began a disagreement with God. He was right, I was wrong, (um, surprise?) but I didn't want to admit it so I stubbornly dug in and refused to budge. Second, we got two sermons for the price of one during church. As one of the pastors was introducing the solo for offertory, he spoke of what we think are blessings verses what God knows are blessings.

As regards the second, God sometimes gives us difficult, painful things and they are still blessings from Him. It's hard to view them that way in the midst, I know, but how many times do we look back at those times and realize what a blessing they were. In "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment," Jeremiah Burroughs emphasizes again and again that whatever we are given in life, good or bad, is from God's hand and we ought to rest in that knowledge so we do not commit one of the most heinous sins...grumble against God.

In the West we are sometimes taught that only good things are from God. That anything bad that happens only comes from evil and because we have sinned. I have run into too many people who think that God absolutely won't do anything good for us if we are in sin. Logically that means that none of us will ever be saved. I'm pretty certain it says "While we were YET sinners Christ died for us." But these people would rather sit in judgement over their brothers and sisters in Christ during their suffering (coz that's really what this teaching necessarily leads to) so they can view their own blessings as something they have earned themselves instead of viewing everything as something that brings glory to God.

As regards the first, as I said, I was having a disagreement with God (yes, it really is as stupid as it sounds) this week. I looked as foolish as one of my children who has decided that he doesn't need to put his shoes where they belong and is trying to argue the rightness of his position. At any rate, smack in the middle of this God worked out something that I had left in His hands last week. And He worked it out in such a way that will make for a more pleasant weekend AND save us money. To be more specific, Babycakes gets to take his ballet/tap class on Saturday (they had moved it from Monday). This was such a huge thing for me because it is something he really enjoys and I know will help in his development.

Now, using the logic that says that God only blesses us when we are good, um, well, let's be honest, nothing good would ever happen to any of us. We'd all have been wiped off the face of the earth a long time ago...probably right after Eden. I guess I have to come to the conclusion that this way of thinking about God is just something I will never understand. The God I have known loves His people, loves His creation. He is perfectly loving. His love, in fact, is so great I cannot even begin to fathom it...maybe because the moment I begin to think about it I am immediately overwhelmed by the enormity of His Grace and I can think no further on it.

Oh, in case you're wondering, God won our argument. I had no choice but to give in on Wednesday night, as I knew I would, during church. But I didn't go without a fight. I didn't want to go but God pretty much forced me due to circumstances beyond my control. Sometimes I'm more like Jonah than I like to admit. But, there, in the midst of that God still was blessing me in little ways. Found out that Babycakes is going to be promoted out of the nursery. I think he's the oldest child in there. While I wonder how he'll do for those 2.5 hrs in Sunday School, I know that this is just another thing that will help him continue to build his verbal and life skills. Yeah, God blesses me even when I don't deserve it...and I think that's a pretty good thing, all things considered.

BTW, the offertory song was this:

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