I’ve been a people watcher all my life. I remember being a very small child and watching my relatives, or my parents’ friends at gatherings. Adults fascinated me. When I was 16, I went to Six Flags over Texas for the first time. Standing in lines for hours was made tolerable because I could watch people. The first mall opened in our town when I was 18 and my favorite thing was not the shopping but the opportunity to sit and watch.
The opportunity to watch people exploded with social media. With Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and discussion groups, I can watch thousands of people every day and I’m perplexed. I don’t understand people’s general definition of “blessings.”
I have many friends who are not self-described Christians and many more who are. It’s the Christians who really confuse me. It seems that only when things are going super-fantabulous, that they believe God is blessing. So many times, those things identified by Christians as “blessings” are temporal, earthly things.
“God blessed us with a new television!” (Hmmmm…. Maybe…)
“God blessed me with a great job making tons of money!” (I hope it doesn’t take you out of church on Sunday, or even Wednesday.)
“I got a new iPad! Isn’t God great?” (He is great whether you got an iPad or not.)
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t thank God for the things we have or the good circumstances that come our way. Blessings in the Bible are often equated with happiness and prosperity but I know that as a Christian, blessings should be much more.
I rarely see exclamations like these:
“God counted me worthy to fall into divers temptations! What a blessing!”
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)
“God blessed me with a terrible week and I endured!”
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:17)
“I am so thankful that God has chastened me this week!”
Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; (Psalm 94:1)
Don’t misunderstand, I like the good STUFF, too. But I want God’s blessings, not mine.
New televisions are old as soon as the next one with a better picture and more functions comes out. The sheen of a new job fades when the daily drudge takes over. Even the great money isn’t so great when you realize what you have to endure to get it. I had my iPad for less than 3 months when the NEW iPad was introduced. (Oh, I still love mine, but you know what I mean.)
I want those blessings that will follow me to my deathbed and beyond. When I’m 100 years old and sitting in my rocker, I want to remember how God blessed me with eternal treasures. Some of the most fiery trials of my life and produced the sweetest fruit. My troubled childhood produced in me a love for the wounded. My many miscarriages led me to adoption and my beloved children. Since I almost died after surgery, my perspective on life has changed entirely. I don’t fret over the little stuff so much.
We should be thankful for everything that God sends our way. The next time I get ready to post a Facebook status or Tweet and it’s been a rough road, I want to thank God for the blessings of the rough road.