I love the song “Blessings” by Laura Story. It is both beautiful, encouraging and thought provoking. Her song talks about God’s blessings and they aren’t what typically leaps to mind when you think about the word “blessing.”
An excerpt from her lyrics:
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?
To listen to the full song:
The definition of blessing is “God’s favor and protection.” Yet, this idea of blessing in the unexpected form of “hardship” is challenging to reconcile.
Years ago my husband and I faced a devastating blow- the unexpected loss of my husband’s job. We were dumbfounded, confused and frankly filled with anger to be forced to seek other employment opportunities.
The problem wasn’t just facing an unexpected future but accepting a new position that came with not only a $20k pay cut but a great deal of uncertainty and turmoil.
You see, this new job brought with it a take-over of management which meant possible displacement again and to make matters worse, many of my husband’s co-workers filed a class-action lawsuit against their employer (which you can imagine didn’t bring warm fuzzies from the employer!)
Job security was a contradiction of terms and we struggled to understand why God had allowed this to happen.
Wouldn’t it have been better to keep him in his old job that for so many years was safe, secure and comfortable? Nothing seemed to make any sense!
We didn’t believe in joining the lawsuit and decided instead to place our hope and trust in God- that He would provide and protect us in spite of the monetary loss and in spite of the turmoil!
So we decided to cling to God’s promises found in Jeremiah 29:11-13- “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 even continued to tithe and even pledged additional money to a building fund initiative for our church. We wanted to demonstrate that we were indeed really trusting God for our future!
You know what happened?
In time we saw God’s mighty hand and we reaped the benefit of His favor and protection. That lawsuit that we didn’t even join was successful and we secured the benefit of over $30k in back pay AND my husband’s salary was adjusted to higher than he was making at his previous employment! Can you say "God thing?" Only through God was this possible to reap the benefit of a lawsuit that you never joined!!
God even opened up additional doors in this new employment that utilizes my husband’s skills and talents to a greater degree!
So what didn't initially make sense, God turned into a blessing that was overflowing!
When God says in Malachi 3:10- “Test me in this matter, says the Lord who rules over all, to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.”
Guess what? When you trust- God will deliver!
So when life gets hard you need to stop and look very closely at your circumstances. Trust and wait patiently on the Lord as you may just be looking at a blessing in disguise!
I’m praying that we will choose to always trust in the Lord. That during difficulties and hardships, God will continue to provide His blessings and may we see them clearly as gifts from Him, even if they take a form that may be unexpected. May we never waver in our belief that God is 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