Monday, January 20, 2014

God Never Promised Smooth Sailing

            I think somewhere in the back of my brain, I thought that when God blessed us with something, it would come easily.  Such as this house.  We knew it was His answer to our years of prayers, and yet it’s been one problem after the next.  With no money to fix it up.  But you know what?  The more I read in the Bible, the more I realize that God’s blessings don’t mean smooth sailing. 

            Think about Noah for a moment.  Noah was the only righteous person that God found at that time.  And because of Noah’s faithfulness and righteousness (and obedience!), he and his family were the only ones spared from the flood.  What a great blessing to be so pleasing to God that they were the ones chosen to repopulate the earth.  But this blessing didn’t come easily and pain-free.
            Noah had to work many years to build an ark with his own two hands.  I’m sure that he had to deal with the ridicule and scorn of those around him.  The loneliness and the lack of support.  And then, when God finally showed everyone that Noah had it right all along, he had to listen as those around him went down in the flood.  Then, he had to sit on the ark – caged in – for a long time, cleaning up after the animals.  And when he exited the ark, he had to start all over, all alone with only his family, working the ground from the muck that it became.  (And who knows what happened to all the dead bodies?)  This is what obtaining the blessing looked like for him.  It meant hard work and sadness and waiting and confinement and starting over. 
            How often do we want the blessings to mean financial abundance, an easy life, seeing our wants fulfilled, never being in need or feeling out of control?  But being blessed doesn’t always look like that.  Sometimes it comes with pain and work and trials.  Even when the Israelites made it into the Promised Land they still had to take it through wars.  It didn’t come free and clear. 
            And so, as I look around at this house and all of its problems – the leaky pipes, gutted bathroom, open ceilings, filthy carpet, broken windows - I have to remember that God did indeed lead us here.  I am thoroughly convinced of that, considering how the doors opened.  And so I can rest in a sense of peace knowing that we are where God wants us to be - that we were obedient to follow Him when He showed us the “next step” to take - even if there are trials that are beyond our ability to handle.  But I am keeping my eyes on the One who can handle them, trusting that He will help us in His time and in His way.  And I call this house a blessing.