The Problem with Blessings

July 21, 2014

BlessedWhat does it mean to be blessed? I’ve been struggling with the term “blessed” a lot recently.  I think it all began years ago while I was attending Multnomah University (a Bible college here in Portland).  It was my Freshman year and we had a fun, competitive quiz in a class.  Unfortunately, my team was not the one that won (much to my competitive chagrin) and when the team that did win was congratulated, a girl on the team said “It’s only because of God’s blessing that we were able to remember these things.” Wait – What? If God’s blessings allowed her team to remember the facts and pull ahead of the curve doesn’t that mean that He didn’t bless the rest of us in that way?  He withheld blessings from everyone else in the room just so her team could win?  Is that the way God works? I know that’s a simple, silly circumstance that doesn’t really mean much in the long run.  No, God probably had nothing to do with which team won our silly quiz but that mindset can be taken to very far extremes. When I say I am blessed because I have an amazing, loving husband does that mean God is withholding blessings from a woman who is in an abusive marriage?  When I say I am blessed that my husband and I have good jobs that allow us to pay all our bills, go on vacation, and pay for seminary out of pocket does that mean that those who are laid off or who struggle to make ends meet are having blessings withheld from the Lord?  When I say I am blessed with an easy, healthy pregnancy does that mean God is withholding blessings from my friend who is further along than me and is still dealing with being sick or, even worse, that He is withholding blessings from another friend of mine who has been longing for a child for the past five years and hasn’t been able to conceive? To be honest, I don’t know the answer to these questions.  I know that James 1:17 says that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  But does that mean that everything we view as blessings are a part of those “good and perfect gifts” that come from the Lord?  Maybe we’re completely misinterpreting that passage!  Maybe the true “good and perfect gifts” are spiritual in nature – things like salvation, peace, faith… All I know is that I no longer tell people that the good things in life are a blessing.  Maybe they’re from the Lord but, if they’re not, I do not want to be rubbing others’ faces in the possibility that God is withholding blessing from them. I’d love to hear your thoughts.  How do you feel about the term “blessed”?  What do you find in scripture that speaks to this subject? Image found Here

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