It is so easy to convince ourselves that what we receive is evidence of God’s blessings to us. For some of us, those blessings need to come in earthly packages: comfortable wealth, nice cars and clothes, a prestigious job, etc. Others believe the blessings and approval of the Lord are evident in families: healthy spouse and children, kids who are doing well in school and behaving themselves, or even having a family rather than being single. Then, there are those who believe that the blessings of God come through how they feel: peace and happiness, contentment, or smart and strong.
In each of these cases, we seem to be thinking in terms of “getting” something. It’s understandable. After all, blessings kind of fall into the gift category in the brain. Gifts are given. The “blessed” recipient GETS something.
Laura Story’s song, “Blessings” has been around for a long time, but it is still one of the songs I turn to for strength when life gets tough. (That’s probably pretty obvious if you recognized that I have already posted about her song a little over a month ago!) Her lyrics are challenging:
What if your blessings come through raindrops,
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes
To know You’re near?
What if trials in this life are Your blessings in disguise?
The song rang true to me, but recently, I ran across some scriptures that made me think even deeper:
D&C 82:3-4 For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation. Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.
As my brain connected the two, I began to realize exactly how merciful God the Father and His Son are! The main reason that any of our hopes, dreams, and prayers are answered with a no is because God wants the very best for us! Let me try to explain:
With every gain – financial, social, educational, spiritual, etc. – there comes greater responsibility. Humans are to be stewards over the things that they are given. That means we are to take the gifts we get and use them wisely. We are to do are best to do as our Heavenly Father, which means we need to grow and improve the possessions, knowledge, friends, and anything else that we have.
Many times, we think we are ready to move forward and to have more, but we are mistaken. We are lacking time, talents, or strength. We don’t have the wisdom to use well what we desire. In that case, the blessing we seek becomes a cursing. Things turn bad, we make bad decisions, something goes terribly wrong. Sometimes, the blessing would actually become a wedge between us and the God we love.
Heavenly Father loves us too much to punish and curse us when we haven’t done anything to deserve it! So, as crazy as it sounds, sometimes He holds things back, refuses to step in, or chooses in some other way a course of action that goes against what we think is right. He does it so that we can grow and so that we can be protected.
Handling the Disappointment
For myself, I find that I’m disappointed when I try to set the standards by which I will be blessed. It just comes naturally to me – if I’m following God and doing what I’m supposed to do, then I start believing that I will have certain things. If I don’t get them, then I start to wonder what’s going on.
In those moments, I have a choice: I can choose to think that God has abandoned me and doesn’t love me, or I can choose to believe that I have a loving Father in Heaven who is working the events in my life for my good, and that I need to seek out what He has in mind. It’s that simple.
Of course, applying the idea is a little harder than that! It’s hard to work through feelings of disappointment, abandonment, and loneliness. It’s not easy to feel like your whole life is falling apart and still say that God is good. It’s something that I can’t do on my own.
The beauty is that our Father honors the intents of our hearts. If we really want to turn to Him and give the best effort we have (no matter how puny it seems to us), He reaches out to comfort and heal us. In short, He blesses the effort.