Blessings rain down upon us ... and we think we'll get that new car, pay off the house early, get that new toy, finally go on that vacation ...
I mean, blessings are when things go great for you, right? When someone gives you something nice? Or at least pleasant when other things might not be going as well.
But what if blessings were both pleasant AND unpleasant? It's easy to think of the good things as blessings, but what about the things that create something positive later, but in the present are extremely difficult to endure?
Cancer, loss of a spouse through death, divorce or adultery, loss of a child, being fired, going bankrupt ... these would hardly be considered blessings. After all, we would say we're blessed when we DON'T have to face these things, not when we DO.
Or, perhaps, maybe we should change our perspective?
The greatest human weakness is in allowing present desires to hold primacy over long-term goals. Our short-sighted view of what's important in this life allow us to dismiss the warnings of parents and further history, which permits us to make and endure the same mistakes other humans have suffered since humans first became sentient. We ignore those lessons, even our own commitments in the past to see an investment through to its calculated end, all because we hold today as more important than yesterday or tomorrow.
So when we suffer in the moment, we begin dismissing the lessons others -- or even ourselves -- have learned about the temporary circumstances of this life.
Blessings can be even our most difficult moments. Not because suffering is a blessing, but because of what can grow from that suffering. When we once believed we could never endure the hardships we have seen others overcome, when we, ourselves, must endure, we gain a new outlook on what is important in life. We let go of the house and three cars and boat and large yard when we go bankrupt. We learn that relationships are the source of true happiness in this life. When we lose a child prematurely -- which is of the most difficult things any parent will endure -- we can reassess if we were really spending our time with our other children or merely enduring them, or we learn to embrace a stronger faith. When we suffer a job loss, we realize we shouldn't put the confidence and comfort of our identity in what we do, but instead in who we are and whom we love.
Again, the blessing isn't the suffering, itself, but that there is always good that can rise from such darkness.
As humans value the primacy of the present over the long-reached lessons from our past reaching into our future, we dismiss powerful perspectives that could help us live lives of peace from the very beginning, but because of our weakness, we must learn these hard truths over and over and over again.
God's blessing is that he disallows our persistence in spiritual brokenness and forces us, through suffering, to develop the more powerful perspectives that scan across the spectrum of time to see that circumstances truly mean less than we, in our shallow present-ness, often feel swallowed up by.
In other words -- today is not always as important as we think it is. When we're in pain today, shallower perspectives would tell us that life is no longer worth living, or that we should forget about the good times in our past and feel drowned under the uncomfortable present. Instead, we should see past our circumstances to remember what is good in life, which, believe it or not, is the very presence of life, even under suffering.
As we begin to put less important in difficult circumstances, the peace in our hearts will grow. We depends less on what we can see and instead trust in a timeless truth about the power of God and HIS primacy over our lives. It's letting go of the illusion of control. It's releasing our foundation from a world of shifting sand and instead putting it into something that does not and will not change.
Where do you put your trust? In the circumstances of today? Or in the timelessness of truth that extends far beyond this moment?
Start counting more than just the good moments as blessings in your life. Start counting -- ahead of time and in faith -- that even the difficult things, too, will be blessings, too.