Ah, yes, the blessed life. Christians truly live under the blessings of God. It makes us special. But what happens when circumstances seem to reveal the opposite? Where do you land when things go wrong, when you get sick, someone stole from you, or you lost your source of income? Let me be totally honest with you, I thought that when I gave my life to Jesus I would have an easy life. I actually thought I would not have trouble in my life anymore. I was so ready for life to be on easy street because, frankly, life without Jesus was hard! I guess from the outside looking in, you might think I was experiencing hardship. But for the first three years of pursuing faith in Jesus, life was changing for the better, consistently. I could see very clearly where God was working and blessing with a yes and Amen. Then…the bottom fell out. I should say, it seemed like the bottom fell out. A lot of really tough circumstances hit my life all at the same time. It’s like my seat in heavenly places disappeared and I fell into hell. While that may sound dramatic, if you build your belief system of a blessed life as no trouble in your life, it will be a big wake up call when difficult times hit. What happened when trouble hit was an education only Father God can give.
I have to back to when my son was learning a new Bible verse. It was John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I took a “that’s nice” approach to the scripture, I encouraged and facilitated the memorization and maybe spoke into it without really experiencing a revelation of the meaning of it. Little did I know that the timing and the scripture were prophetic. I needed to take heart and know that Jesus has overcome all the trouble I would go through. God was trying to prepare me for what was to come. I ignored it because it didn’t fit into my blessed life bubble.
So, what did Father God teach me? He taught me about sanctification. What’s that? It is God transforming us into what He created us to be in the first place. He is changing us from sinner into saint. Sanctification is the process of transformation. I call it the burning fires of God (see Hebrew 12, read the entire chapter for context). Why would it be the burning fires of God? Well, let’s take the process of making gold as an example. While gold automatically has value, it is not shiny and useful when it is mined out of the earth. It looks like a rock with gold coloring. In order to make something of use out of the gold, it has to be refined. Fire and heat are required to refine gold. Refining it makes it shiny and makes the rock soft enough to be shaped into something for use. God wants to use us to change the world, we have to be transformed so that we can be used. While there is an instantaneous transformation at salvation, sanctification is a lifetime process that we undergo as we endure the troubles and victories of life. It is the process of learning how to love and trust God and to love others. I don’t believe that sanctification ever stops, although, I do believe that sometimes refining is intense and sometimes refining come easy. Some call these hills, valleys, and mountains. I like to call it life on earth, being subject to evil, the interference of other’s free will choices and learning to trust God in the midst of it all.
So what does this have to do with blessing? Well, in the midst of difficult situations and circumstances, it is easy to fall into a belief system that says your life isn’t blessed anymore. I am here to say, it is impossible for you to lose your spiritual blessings. What God showed me about blessing during troubled times is that I have to remember the simple things He has done, my identity as a child of God, and that He is with me the whole way through. Trials throw us into a time where gratitude for the simple things, for the simple blessings, brings joy in the midst of trouble. It is a time where we need to remember what we have been blessed with: salvation, provision, protection, victory and more. In the meantime, we wait patiently on God to show us the way through tough times. Take heart new believer! Jesus has overcome every trial you will have. Rest and know that you are blessed.