Lately, several instances have caused me to stop and reflect on my life and all that encompasses it. I feel very fortunate, lucky, blessed. I can give a brief synopsis why:
- Last night at midnight when M was hungry, my ultra-thoughtful husband retrieved her and I didn’t have to get out of bed.
- I have a freezer full of cow and chickens to eat whenever so inclined.
- All 8 million of my cousins and their kids live within driving distance to regularly wreck havoc in a well-reciprocated manner.
- My kids’ grandmas and grandpas (all 4 of them) live close enough to feed them too much junk food.
- My bookshelf offers multiple options for my next bookclub selection.
- I speak to at least one of my friends on a daily basis.
- I own shoes that can match any outfit I put together.
- I don’t hate my job.
I have many reasons to feel blessed. But I realized that “blessed” is a tough term to swallow for some because the thinking could be, “why you and not me?” Plenty of people in the world do not experience the same joy and contentment on a daily basis. Why would God not shower down the blessings upon them?
Glee highlighted it as a common stumbling block when Finn up and left his Grilled Cheesus faith because the guidance counselor told him that the graven image didn’t really make him special. He wanted an all-access pass to the good life, thanks be to the almighty Bread and Cheese. When he discovered that the universe operated otherwise, he jumped ship on the whole belief system of something beyond.
We like the idea of a God who will bless us if we follow Him. A+B=C. I follow, you give, we’re both happy. As a rule-driven creature of logic, I grasp this concept with clenched knuckles. But when faced with “when bad things happen to good people” one of our only choices of response tends to be “We don’t know why God does things” and “We can’t see the whole picture.” They are true; we don’t know and we can’t see. But that doesn’t offer much hope to a family at the hospital whose loved one is loosing a battle with depression and a destructive lifestyle.
My wanderings take me to the original father of faith, Abraham. God told Abe that he would bless him – lots of descendants, a promised land, lots o’ milk and honey. But a key phrase is often omitted.
“I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
And you will be a blessing… and all will be blessed through you. What if faith is about far more than ourselves and God, something our individualistic culture frequently abhors?
I’m not trying to take God out of the blessing-giver role. Clearly, he’s the main show. And I’m not about to heap fault on to someone for the bad things happening. But what if my blessings aren’t just the direct result of something good I’ve done, but rather the faith of those around me? What if, because my parents are faithful, I have become the recipient of the blessings of opportunity and provision? What if, because my friends tend to live in a way that is loving, generous, patient (oh, my friends ARE patient with me!) and kind, and my life is blessed as a result. God still gives, but it’s a matter of vehicle.
Taking this on adds a whole new level of codependency that I’m sure some counselor would resist. But it’s an option I’m willing to explore.