Now before you get up in arms about that title, hear me out first. The thing is, I’m getting pretty fed up with hearing people say “Yeah, it’s been terrible/sad/painful/heartbreaking, but it’s such a blessing.” I have to admit I was one of those people for many years because I had learned to be a positive person through all my suffering. I try to find good in any situation, so for many years I thought that God had put suffering on me so that I would be changed for the better. God wanted me to suffer in order to change me. It’s charter building stuff, right?! Oh how wrong I was.
Let us first reevaluate this word, shall we? Blessing/Blessed/Bless: A special favor or benefit; God’s favor upon a person; Bestowed good of any kind; holy gift; -and my personal favorite- a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
Most Christians I know seem to have forgotten what blessing actually is! It breaks my heart every time I hear them talking about their troubles and then ending with “it’s just a blessing in disguise…”. Blessings are not Ninjas, people! Sure we don’t always understand what God is doing but He doesn’t sit around and try to confuse us! Our misguided idea of blessings stems from our belief in a tough love God. A try harder, work harder, do more, fight harder, suffer through this God—- because it’s actually a blessing if you can pull out your magnifying glass and search hard enough. I used to believe in a tough love God, but not anymore.
I honestly don’t know how someone can truly love a God like that, I know I couldn’t. Not only could I not love my idea of God, I also couldn’t accept his love. Can you image a loving parent purposely making their child sick so that they gain good character and perspective, and then telling them it’s a blessing? Or how about a parent killing one child so that the sibling would become stronger and more resilient after losing a friend. Seems crazy, doesn’t it? So why then do we assume that our Heavenly Father, who loves use a more than any parent ever could, would do the same?
I boldly suggest that He would not.
You see, we often forget about this evil thing called Satan. And we forget that every single day we are in the center of a spiritual battle with God on one side and Satan on the other. Can you imagine Satan killing your child or parent or friend, putting sickness, anger, bitterness, and greed inside you, or taking away your best dreams? Because I can. And on more occasions than I can count I’ve let him. And that’s when my Rescuer fought so hard for me and pulled every ounce of good that He could from the devil’s work.
God blessed me with his goodness and grace during my suffering but He did not “Bless” me with sickness. Satan cursed me with sickness and I fell for it. See the difference? God never wanted me to be sick and suffer and then to learn lots of good life lessons from it. He wanted to use me as I was, healthy and free, and it is my belief that Satan did all he could to thwart God’s plan for my life. It almost worked. Almost.
In the end I think our belief in a Tough love God- who sends blessing in disguise- comes from two things: The first is sense of worth. When we have heartbreak, deep suffering, and trauma in our lives rationalize that God is using it to shape us because we are not good enough yet and need to learn a lesson. Deep down we think we deserve to suffer because aren’t good enough. We ourselves do not believe we are worthy to deserve only good things (blessings) from God. And you know what? We aren’t! We can do nothing to earn God’s blessings or grace, so as a gift Jesus died for us so that we may be worth to receive God’s love and grace. So why then, are we so reluctant to receive these things? Because we are human, that’s why. Say it with me now though: “I am worthy of God’s true blessings and Gracious love!” Not tough love, gracious love. Not blessing in disguise, gifts that bring happiness.
The second reason we rationalize blessings in disguise is guilt. We know we screwed up and instead of admitting we got ourselves in a big ol’ mess we pretend it was God’s plan all along- which takes the blame off our shoulders. Because Hey! There’s nothing I could do about this, it’s God’s plan for me! Devine intervention is an excellent excuse no one can disprove. I fall into this second category because I am a stubborn, self-righteous girl who never wants to admit she’s wrong. So instead I blame my troubles on God, pretend it’s a blessing in disguise, and then skip around with my Glass is Half Full attitude.
Phew! I’m exhausted! We’re almost done but first let me clarify- I am not suggesting God babies us; He certainly challenges us with intent of being change. There is difference between challenges and suffering however. I think if you were to look back on your life you would be able to pick out the parts that were suffering from the devil verses challenges from God.
It’s a lot to take in. Honestly I could probably write an entire book on this one subject alone- and perhaps someday I will, but for now I will leave it here. But here’s what I’m going to do for the rest of the month and you can join me in it if you want. Every morning and every night I will say out loud “God wants to bless me with good things that will bring me happiness.” Pretty simple, but I bet is not something you have ever said before! Kinda crazy that we don’t reassure ourselves in God’s goodness, isn’t it? Let’s see if we can get it to sink in! Fake it ’til you make it, my friends!