“Ive always wanted to experience God’s full blessing in my life.”
But it never happened. So I’ve wondered a lot of times: Why? Am I that bad? That’s why I always end up being hurt? Or simply because I’m not that deserving at all?
It was the first few lines of a blog entry I posted last October 24, 2008. I was 19. I wrote it while nursing a broken heart (because most of my blog entries before were always about love life HAHAHA), and at the end of that write-up, I concluded that my reason for not experiencing God’s full blessing in my life was because I haven’t really been faithful to God.
Thinking about it now, I wonder what “full blessing” do I have in mind 11 years ago? In that post, I admitted that I haven’t really been faithful to God because I know that I’ve always had my own way. In short, I lived a life full of compromises and disobedience. However, today my 30 year old self is not pondering whether I have improved the level of faithfulness I have for God over the years (although it’s a good question for self-assessment). My mind is into a different and I think a bigger question: What does BLESSING really mean?
Many of us think that blessings equate to all the good things. When we are living a wonderful life and everything is just going according to plan, we say we are blessed. When we have the opportunity to travel, we’re on the top of our career, our business is doing great, or when we can buy all the expensive things, we say we are blessed. We put #BLESSED to share how God has been so good in our lives because He is giving us these things or allowing us to experience the good life.
We have defined “blessed/blessing” as prosperity and success. We have defined BLESSING as the absence of problems.
What does is really mean to be blessed?
I looked up the meaning of BLESSING in Google just now, and here’s what it says: God’s favor and protection. I’m pleasantly surprised that even in the Google dictionary, the primary definition of “blessing” is not comfort or success, because that’s what I believe the Bible is also teaching us.
Let us anchor ourselves on what is true. The Bible did not promise a life free from suffering. In fact, 1 Peter 4:12 (GNT) says, “…Do not be surprised at the painful test your are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you.” If we are in Christ, struggles will surely come to test our faith. And besides, if everything is going perfectly fine in our lives, we will no longer need God.
I love how the word “protection” is also included in the definition I mentioned earlier. Many times we don’t understand why certain things happen to us. When I was 19 and heartbroken, I didn’t see myself as “blessed” because hello? I just had my heart broken, how can that be a blessing? Yes, that’s the whole premise of why I wrote that blog entry – because God didn’t allow me to have that relationship. I’m just shaking my head now because of how naive I was. Why? Well, let me share to you something:
Few weeks ago, I was with Darel at the mall and we accidentally saw one of my ex-boyfriends – the ex I was trying to move-on from back in 2008. Hahaha. And at that moment, I remember thanking God because I didn’t end up with that guy.
Many times I’ve experienced what it’s like when God chooses to remove some people in my life for my own good. It was so painful. I felt like God was holding back His blessing for me simply because He isn’t making me happy the way I wanted to be happy. What I didn’t know is that all the break-ups or the painful moments, was already a blessing in itself. It was God’s way to protect me from destroying my future and live my life dealing with the consequences of my bad decisions. I didn’t know these things when I was younger, but as I pursued to know God more in the past years, I slowly realized all the wrong ideas I’ve had about life and God.
Blessing is not just about success and comfort.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to think that success and comfort are blessings from God. However, it becomes dangerous if we will always think that way. We can consider these things as earthly gifts from God, but we ought to receive it with thanksgiving and praise, acknowledging that it is Him who made all these things possible.
Many people say that obedience to God brings blessing. While this statement is true, it would also be good if we will constantly remind ourselves of what blessing really means. Again, if we think that blessing is all about success and comfort, we could easily judge that those people who are not experiencing these things are living a life of disobedience to God. But is it true? Is this really what the Bible says? I remember the story of Job in the Bible (from the GNT Introduction of the book of Job):
“The book of Job is the story of a good man who suffers total disaster — he loses all his children and property and is afflicted with a repulsive disease… and his friends explain his suffering in traditional religious terms. Since God, so they assume, always rewards good and punishes evil, the sufferings of Job can only mean that he has sinned. But for Job this is too simple; he does not deserve such cruel punishment, because he has been an unusually good and righteous man. He cannot understand how God can let so much evil happen to one like himself, and he boldly challenges God. Job does not lose his faith, but he does long to be justified before God and to regain his honor as a good man.
God does not give an answer to Job’s questions, but he does respond to Job’s faith by overwhelming him with a poetic picture of His divine power and wisdom. Job then humbly acknowledges God as wise and great, and repents of the wild and angry words he had used. The prose conclusion records how Job is restored to his former condition, with even greater prosperity than before…”
When I was younger, I used to think like the friends of Job. I used to see God as a God who only blesses those who are holy, righteous and those who seem to not make a single sin. Haha. But through the constant battle of letting my wrong ideologies die, I have come to believe that God blesses us not based on our goodness, but simply because He is good to begin with. I know that this truth is quite difficult to grasp because as humans, we tend to have our own standards (sometimes even higher than God’s) but that’s just who God is. We can’t define Him like how we have defined what BLESSING or BLESSED in our world today.
Don’t let the world dictate if you are blessed or not based on what you have or do not have. Always go back to God and what He says. No matter how we define blessedness, may we always find ourselves delighted not in the blessings but in the One who blesses. ♥
[Cover Photo: Freepik]