Not Offended - Week of September 6th

By Judy Nichols

September 6, 2015

There are times when we see God blessing others but nothing is happening with us. I remember two such times in my own life. Many of my high school and college chums were getting married. I rarely had any dates, let alone a steady boyfriend. At one point I forlornly told my mother that I didn’t want to go to any more bridal showers because it was too depressing. The same thing happened again when all our friends were having babies and we were infertile. It was so hard to be happy for these new parents, though I knew I should be. Many years later a friend asked me why God wasn’t blessing her. She said she loved God and tried to obey Him the best she could; she participated in various ministries; she tithed; yet God’s blessing seemed to her to be absent from her life. I’m not sure what kind of blessing she was looking for, but I’m afraid my answer was woefully inadequate, something about not measuring God’s blessings in material terms but seeing the prosperity of the soul and the goodness of her relationships.

The truth of the matter is that we do not know why it sometimes seems God blesses others and not us. Some believers are healed of their illnesses while others die. Some excel in business while others, just as hard-working and faithful as they, flounder and have to go into bankruptcy. God is the Sovereign; He is in charge; He sees the whole picture while we see only a few pixels. What we cannot do is blame God for our apparent lack. We must live unoffended.

Part of the problem lies with us. When we have our eyes focused on ourselves or on other people, we get caught up in comparisons and lose sight of what God has for us. We also can have a very inaccurate idea of what His blessing should look like. Appearances can be deceiving.

Wealth is no indicator of blessedness; it can blind us to our need for God. In the Book of Revelation Jesus said to the church in Laodicea, "you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Rev. 3:17 NASB). And in the parable of the Sower, Jesus identified the deceitfulness of riches as one of the things that would choke the fruitfulness out of growing faith (Mark 4:19). King Solomon, the wealthiest ruler ever, wisely prayed that God would give him only what he needed, not too much nor to little, "lest I be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God" (Prov. 30: 8-9 NASB). He recognized the dangers inherent in focusing on material wealth, whether it be great wealth or poverty.

Health is not necessarily evidence of God’s blessing, either. Paul, after describing his quest for God to remove his thorn in the flesh, became content with his weakness because God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9 NASB). When we persevere in faith in the face of infirmities, we demonstrate to the world the power of Christ in us. When I had cancer, people told me I was an inspiration to them. I didn’t feel like one; I struggled just to keep going. But my earthen vessel, broken though it was, somehow revealed the greatness of God’s power (see 2 Cor. 4:7).

We grow in blessedness when we continue to trust in Christ, even when our prayers are not answered, our circumstances do not change, or our efforts seem to go unrewarded. Our call is to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, to give thanks both for the things we consider blessings and the things we consider curses, because God has commanded it and He is worthy of our obedience and gratitude, as well as our trust.

© Judy Nichols 2015

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