Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I don’t feel very blessed these days. I feel beat up. The last few weeks have been rough. There hasn’t been anything tragic, just one discouraging situation after another. I’ve been struggling with daily headaches for almost two weeks now. That alone is enough to wear a person down, but there have been several other things, too.

- We were given a bed that was supposed to be great for my back but actually made things worse.

- My good friend at work was laid off a couple of weeks ago. Then her sister had a stroke last Wednesday.

- I discovered the other day that my son probably needs glasses.

- I was approached about a job on Tuesday that sounded like it would be a wonderful opportunity for me.  I worked hard on getting my resume and cover letter updated, sent it in on Thursday and found out yesterday that they have already filled the position.

- Our landlord has been hassling us about getting our van fixed, but we have to save up enough money to get the work done on it so it will pass smog. Today they had it towed because they don’t want to look at it anymore.

I know that the Bible says that God wants to give good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11), and that he has plans to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11). I also know that he will give me what I ask for if I pray believing (Mark 11:24, Matthew 21:22), and that wants us to live abundant lives (John 10:10). I know that because that’s what I’ve been hearing from pastors and teachers like Joel Osteen and Bruce Wilkinson. I just want to know what I am supposed to do to receive those blessings, because I don’t see many of them coming my way. I see problems and trouble.

I feel cursed rather than blessed.

I’m not supposed to say that, though. I’m only supposed to speak words of faith. I’m supposed to keep my eyes on my blessings and keep hoping. Keep believing. Always keep believing. Because that is what we have to do, in spite of the evidence to the contrary. “Never mind how it looks. Keep your eyes on Jesus.”

I have some Bible verses taped to my computer monitor at work. Here are the words that I put there shortly after I was hired to remind myself:

He will keep in perfect peace all who trust in him, all whose thoughts are fixed on him!” Isaiah 26:3

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

So let us come boldly to the throne of you gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts, fully trusting him. Hebrews 10:22

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I don’t expect my life to be perfect. I’ve been taught, though, that I can expect God to be my healer. I’ve been taught that I can expect God to lavish his love on me. I’ve been taught that if I follow his commands, I will receive the blessings he has promised his children. I don’t know how many sermons I’ve sat through that told me that if I give my tithe, God will “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)

I’ve spent my life trying my best to follow his commands. I’ve always tried to make the best decisions in the circumstances that I found myself in. I didn’t always succeed, but I tried.

I just would like something to go right, for once. I’d like to see those floodgates opening up. I’d like to see some healing come my way.

Over the past few years I’ve been trying to look for the opportunities that come my way and go for them, because I don’t want to miss out on a potential blessing that God is sending me. Sometimes, though, when I have reached for that opportunity and it has once again been snatched away just out of my reach, or what looks like a blessing turns out to not be one at all, I start to wonder why I try. I wonder why I keep putting myself in the position of being disappointed, again.

This is when I start hearing the voice of discouragement. It’s when I start thinking, “It’s easier to stop hoping and just accept that this is the way things are and you can’t expect better.” I start hearing, “Look how your Loving God is treating you. It‘s like he‘s looking for ways to make things harder instead of ways to bless you. He keeps teasing you with possibilities for things to get better so you‘ll get your hopes up and then lets it all fall apart. He doesn’t want the best for you. He just wants to see how long you can take the torture before you give up.”

I don’t really believe these things. It’s just the crazy stuff that goes through my head. I know it’s not true, but I’m just so tired of everything being hard. I’m just ready to see some of those blessings that I’ve been promised. I’m ready for some of that rest he promised, too.

(My husband would probably want me to let you know that there is a certain amount of PMS which is adding fuel to this diatribe. I always tell him that PMS isn’t the cause of my frustration or anger, it just makes me less able to tolerate the things that already drive me crazy.)

I know that I should start “counting my blessings” and looking for all the ways that God has provided. I also know that I will probably feel better in a few days. But, for anyone who has felt like they are living on the receiving end of the jokes of some Cosmic Prankster, I feel your pain. If you’ve figured out how to get out of that place, please let me in on your secret. (^_^)

1 comment:

  1. Your Jeremiah verse is a great place to start. It is widely quoted out of context in Christian circles, and few people actually go back and read the rest of the section. If they did, they would notice a few things - first, that particular promise was made for 70 years - 2 generations - in the future. In the meantime, God was explicit that they were going to remain captives, with all that that entailed, including a least one genocide attempt. (Jer 29:10) He also instructed them not to listen to the "peace and prosperity prophets" that were popular at that difficult time, because they were lying. (Jer 29:8-9, with reference to Jer 14:11-16). In the meantime, they were supposed to settle down, build themselves lives where they were, and bless the pagan, godless, violent society around them (Jer 29:5-7). I don't mean to be discouraging, but abundance and material blessing have rarely been the characteristics of the lives of believers, and I'm not sure they were ever promised in the first place, at least not in the always-and-forever sense. The life of following God, for most of the people given to us as examples in Scripture, was a life of more-than-usual difficulty punctuated by moments of Divine Intervention, first and foremost, Jesus himself.