“What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?” ~Blessings by Laura Story
Blessings defined as “God’s favor and protection.”
How does one reconcile God’s favor and protection coming in the form of disappointments, longings, hardships, trials, sorrow, and humility?
It seems so counter-intuitive.
Yet, sometimes it takes being positioned in a lowly place to be able to look up to see God's grace.
Melissa Spoelstra sums this up beautifully:
“I'm reminded of the blessings of humility. We may not enjoy the consequences and embarrassment that can accompany being humbled, but we can be grateful for the hope in humility. When we pridefully climb life's ladders, the Lord offers hope in downward mobility. He is gracious to remind us that the way up is down.”
My husband and I experienced this “way up is down” principle many years ago after facing a devastating blow of the unexpected loss of my husband's job- years devoted to an organization with high praises and promotions only to end with a sudden pink slip.
We were left stunned, facing a new position that came with not only a $20k pay cut but unstable management.
We struggled to understand why God had stripped away our safety, stability, and comfort.
But through the struggle of this humbling experience, we resolved to cling to God's promises.
James 4:10 tells us, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you."
Jeremiah 29:11-13 promises, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In spite of the uncertainty and the pay loss, we continued to tithe money we didn't have to demonstrate that we were trusting God for our future!
Do you know what happened?
God reminded us that our hope is found in Him alone by lifting us and blessing us from unexpected sources and ways. Through an unforeseen lawsuit, my husband received a settlement and salary adjustment that more than made up for the money lost and placed him in a position with a higher salary and better benefits than in his previous employment. Only through God was it possible to reap the benefit of a lawsuit that you never joined!!
Further, God answered a 20-year-old prayer that provided my husband with a permanent day-shift schedule and offered him opportunities that had previously been closed.
A humbling experience that didn’t initially make any sense, God turned into a blessing that was overflowing!
Lesson learned- when life gets hard, and you feel like you are going backward or about to hit rock-bottom- stop and look up to the Lord as you may just be looking at a blessing in disguise!
Lord, help us to choose to always trust in you. That during difficulties and hardships, you will continue to provide your blessings, and you will help us to see them clearly as gifts from your hand, even if they take a form that may be unexpected. May we never waiver in our belief that you are good and forever faithful.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6