A former pastor of mine once said, “Seasons of testing are always followed by seasons of blessing.” After many years of walking with the Lord, I believe that is true. God is good and He loves to give good gifts to His children. If you’re a parent, you know the exhiliration of surprising your child with something they have desired, and watching the joy erupt on their face, the hugs and kisses they give, and the feelings of gratitude they share. There is nothing quite like it! How much more does our Heavenly Father love to do the same for us? I have no doubt He gets as much joy, if not more, than we do when He blesses us.
Obviously, we would love it if all we ever received from Him were blessings, or at least, so we think. I don’t know of anyone, especially me, that enjoys the trials and testings that make up so much of our lives. I’ve already written briefly on how important those times of difficulty are; if you didn’t read it, you can here.
Though I love the blessings of God, I’ve come to the conclusion that our seasons of blessing can be even more challenging than the times of testing. The reason I believe that is found in Scripture. One example is from Deuteronomy 7-8. In chapter 7, Moses and God remind the children of Israel of all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon them and will continue to pour out upon them, if they will follow His laws and decrees. Then in chapter 8, He issues a sobering warning, beginning in verse 10, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery… You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today. If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.” (8:10-20)
Though we’re no longer under the Law, it is true that blessings often distract us from our need for the Lord. It is easy to forget all that He has done for us, and that which He provides for us. Jesus said it was difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom. Wealth kept the rich young ruler from following Him, for he could not let his money go. The man whose vast riches inspired him to build bigger barns to store them in lost his life and his soul. In contrast, testings, when dealt with properly, will drive us closer to God. They bless us by reminding us how fragile we, and the things of this world, really are.
Blessings don’t have to destroy us or our relationship with God, however. When stewarded as they should be, they can be a means to bless others. In fact, God often does just that – He blesses us so that we, in turn, may bless others. Blessings can make us more grateful people. Our old nature is hopelessly selfish and greedy, never satisfied. When we meditate upon God’s goodness in seasons of blessings, we should be humbled and thankful that He doesn’t give us what we deserve. This, I believe, is one reason why God chooses to bless us. He is good, and His goodness is a facet of His splendor and glory. Lord, teach us to be grateful people and humble us through your extravagant goodness!