Monday, January 15, 2018

Blessings for the New Year !

Here we are in the first month of yet another new year.  I always wonder, as I'm sure we all do, what will this new year hold?  The year is yet uncharted  ... but we do know one thing  -  as we have trusted and believed in the past we can trust and depend on the goodness of God to carry us through.
I wish for all you reading this post a year covered and overflowing with the blessings of our Lord. 

I know not everyone agrees with me, but I love snow (not to drive in, I agree!) but I love the beauty of it and to me it is always a picture of the blessings and benefits from God -- they fall on all, the good and the bad - not by personal merit but by the mercy of God.

What would we need for this year to be as perfect as this earthly, physical life could get?
I think, first of all, we need peace , peace of mind and peace in relationships.  Then physical health would be a wonderful thing,  and safety from harm , and living under the blessings of provision.  Of course a given is that we would need an abundance of good food ...  and we would all love to at least 'feel'  young !
Would you not agree that if you had all those things to fill this coming year you would really want for nothing?

That list is not always descriptive of our life ... all of us lack in one or the other and sometimes we feel we have none of the blessings in my list.  And when hard times comes, sad times, difficult times , when anxiety fills our hearts,  we question God.  "Where are you, God?  Do you see?  Do you care what is happening to me ?  Do you hear my cries?"

So what would God's list of blessings/benefits look like?  Can we know? Actually, we can - God gives us His list in Psalm 103:2-5. 

If we look at this passage, we see that before God gives us His list there is an admonition to us.
We are told, "DO NOT FORGET God's benefits!!"

Here is God's list .....

  • He forgives all our iniquities --   If we are free of all guilt, forgiven, we have peace in our minds, in our hearts and in our relationships.   Jesus came to set us free and He is our Peace. 
  • He heals all our diseases -- God does not want us to suffer in broken bodies - His desire for us is health and strength
  • He redeems us from all destruction -- God does not want us to live in fear ... He wants us to dwell safely -  free from all alarm ! 
  • He 'crowns' us with lovingkindness and tender mercies --  all we need or desire flows down from above , His blessings abound from His riches in glory ! 
  • He satisfies us with good food -- God our Father desires His children to be fed from the abundance of good food that He provides 
  • He renews our youth like the eagle -- getting 'old' was not God's idea -- God desires for us to live 'forever young' 

I'm sure you see how God's list is exactly what we need and desire for a good life, paralleling my list, but I'm also sure of the question that is in your mind.   "That may be God's list, and I agree it's a good one -- BUT -- where is the reality of it in my life?   I don't have all those things and I see some people around me who have none of them! Where is God in that list as it plays out in our lives?"

As parents we all have a 'list' for our children when they are born -- what we desire for them , what we want their life to look like.   We are often disappointed as they grow,  that our list doesn't easily fall into place - circumstances beyond our control interfere and hinder our being able to give our children what we wish we could.  Sometimes we have to bring pain into their life -- medical treatment, dentists, discipline -- but the suffering we allow in their lives is not because we have thrown our list away but rather because we believe it will move them toward the fulfillment of our list.

But ... you might argue ... God is so much more powerful than us earthly parents , He CAN do whatever He wants, and if that truly is His list of desires for His children then why doesn't He just make them happen in my life?

Consider the following ....

  1. We live in a sinful world of our own making. Even Adam and Eve living in a perfect world could not resist exercising their own 'free will' and do what they desired instead of trusting God's command.   Having given us the gift of free will - for the highest purpose of our worship and love toward God being freely given -- it has the default 'side effect' of us needing to be disciplined by experience to know good and evil and to personally choose good. 
  2. We live in a fallen world -  it was not just man affected by 'sin', all creation fell from its perfect state ... and as a result there are things that cause harm and destruction - from germs to natural disasters. 
  3. People with free will can chose to be evil -- and evil people around us do things that affect others often through no fault of their own .  
"Okay, that is true,"  you might agree. But then you raise the objection .. "So then what good is God's list if He can't fulfill it anyway? What good does it do us to know what God WOULD want to give us in a perfect world that we don't live in?" 

I think there is great comfort in having God's list.  In the list we see God's Father heart for His children.  If we know and believe that He loves us and His thoughts and desires for us are good, then we can trust Him even when things go sideways.  "Why?" you ask?    
Because even when things went wrong in you life growing up, either by your own choices or by things outside of your control, - if you had loving parents - you trusted them that  you could count on them being there for you, that they would help you through your difficulty, that they would do all they could to make things right again and support and encourage you until they were. You believed that they had your good in mind. 

So can we not trust God to do beyond what any earthly parents would or could do?   If we know that no matter what our life looks like today, God's heart and purpose and desire is for us to partake of His benefits then we can trust that He is working to bring those benefits into our life.  We might not understand the why He has allowed what came our way but if we hold onto His love , we can know that in the end we will understand.  And until we do fully understand , let us not FORGET HIS BENEFITS , not forget where God's heart is toward us.

And while God desires  - and does -- bless us in this life,  we know that one day He will create the New Earth that will make that list the 'order of the day'  every day and we will life forever under the goodness and blessing of our Father God.