♕ Today's Promise: “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones, And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” Psalm 32:11
Last week we learned the first principle of being blessed and that was:
And the second part is:
The Lord is waiting and longing to bless each and everyone who longs for Him. It is His very nature to WANT to bless us!
This week I’d like us to come to understand why there are some believers who are not blessed while there are other believers who seem to be so blessed they cannot contain it.
What I mean is, these individuals are so blessed that blessings are literally running over and spilling over blessing anyone who is close to them. I don't know about you, but this is the kind of blessings that I want to have. The kind that is "pressed down and running over." I want so much from God that I have plenty left over to pass on to everyone close to me. What about you?
So if it is true that God wants to bless us, then why do some believers suffer?
Principle #2 Suffering and Sorrow helps us obtain the maturity to enjoy the blessing!
All of us love to think that our miracle will come to us in the form of winning the lottery. In other words, that all of a sudden, we would be instantly and gloriously blessed, never needing one more blessing in the future. However, when a blessing just falls into our lap, the truth is, we are completely and utterly unprepared to handle it. So, instead of it being a true blessing, the blessing becomes a curse to us.
The way God designed His blessings to come, was through the dark clouds. By toil, pain, suffering, striving and sorrow is how we experience and learn the maturity necessary to keep and enjoy our blessing.
There was a documentary that we saw once that interviewed people who had won the lottery. All, but the one who had just recently won, found that the money that they dreamed would make them happy actually destroyed their lives. It had been given to them before they were ready to assume the responsibility. They had neither toiled nor suffered for it, instead, it dropped into their laps.
When you're in the midst of your trials, such as in your marriage, each day you wish your spouse would come home that very DAY or that miraculously he would change OVERNIGHT. It’s our nature not wanting to wait. And who of us wants to continue to hurt or shed one more tear?
Yet, haven't we forgotten just how the suffering that led us here, led us to Him, how our trials thus far have changed us in incredible ways? None of us is the same person we were. We have been completely transformed and what matters to us now is nothing close to the same as before. If you’re like me, you look back at the way that you were and we cringe. Yet, how soon we forget that the Lord said we are changed from Glory to Glory.
So let’s read the verse to see if we can glean more from it:
2 Corinthians 3:18 Expanded Bible (EXB)
“Our faces, then, are not covered [With an unveiled face…]. We all show [reflect; or behold; or contemplate] the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed [transformed] to be like Him [ into the same image]. This change in us brings ever greater glory [or is from one degree of glory to another; is from glory to glory], which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
If you are worn out and have been thinking of "how long" this Restoration Journey will take, stop for a minute to look back and remember how these very trials have changed you.
Today as I was working on a few Restored Marriage Testimonies I was struck with the total awe at how many explain in great detail how difficult their trial was, but that each would not have wanted to miss it or change a thing! I feel that way too. Then why, when I first wrote this series, was I weary about ALL the trials that I shared were hitting me, one after the other, and why did I wish they would be over? Apparently, I had forgotten how I got to that place in my life.
Streams in the Desert January 9
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
I once kept a bottle-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth for nearly one year. The cocoon was very strange in its construction. The neck of the “bottle” had a narrow opening through which the mature insect forces its way. Therefore the abandoned cocoon is as perfect as one still inhabited, with no tearing of the interwoven fibers having taken place. The great disparity between the size of the opening and the size of the imprisoned insect makes a person wonder how the moth ever exits at all. Of course, it is never accomplished without great labor and difficulty. It is believed the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected when passing through such a narrow opening is nature’s way of forcing fluids into the wings, since they are less developed at the time of emerging from the cocoon than in other insects.
I happened to witness the first efforts of my imprisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. All morning I watched it patiently striving and struggling to be free. It never seemed able to get beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted. The confining fibers were probably drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter in its native habitat, as nature meant it to be. In any case, I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than its Maker, so I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors, I snipped the confining threads to make the exit just a little easier. Immediately and with perfect ease, my moth crawled out, dragging a huge swollen body and little shriveled wings! I watched in vain to see the marvelous process of expansion in which these wings would silently and swiftly develop before my eyes. As I examined the delicately beautiful spots and markings of various colors that were all there in miniature, I longed to see them assume their ultimate size. I looked for my moth, one of the loveliest of its kind, to appear in all its perfect beauty. But I looked in vain. My misplaced tenderness had proved to be its ruin. The moth suffered an aborted life, crawling painfully through its brief existence instead of flying through the air on rainbow wings.I have thought of my mouth often, especially when watching with tearful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow, suffering, and distress. My tendency would be to quickly alleviate the discipline and bring deliverance. O shortsighted person that I am! How do I know that one of these pains or groans should be relieved? The farsighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink away from present, momentary suffering. Our Father’s love is too steadfast to be weak. Because He loves His children, He “disciplines us . . . that we may share in his holiness” (Heb. 12:10). With this glorious purpose in sight, He does not relieve our crying. Made perfect through suffering, as our Elder Brother was, we children of God are disciplined to make us obedient, and brought to glory through much tribulation. from a tractI’d encourage you to stop and read it too, so you’ll understand about the beautiful moth that never lived to use his colorful wings, all because the struggling moth was delivered from his suffering. Reading it again just now, I was struck again by how the man witnessing the moth struggling simply cut a tiny opening so the moth no longer would continue to struggle to get out of his tight enclosure.
As I said, it was when I finished reading that story when I suddenly remembered that in all the trials of the week, I had failed to finish writing this week's message. So out of the bath I came, but instead of being sorrowful I was grateful. Grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to let me grow up; to change me to be more like Him and a suitable bride for His Son. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts.
And as I also said, It made me happy to know that He is not done with me yet. Thank You Lord for the trials; again I am rejoicing!
Thankfully and humbling I see how many years it’s taken the Lord to transform and help me to finally grow up. It was just the past few days that I realized that I did not want to be delivered or spared from my current trials because only within the fire can I really sense His presence to the fullest.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he responded and said to his high officials, ‘Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘Certainly, O king.’ He answered and said, ‘Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth [walking with them] is like a son of the gods!’”
How about you? Where are you in your trials and how do you feel about them? Now it's time to...