Ok…this is a sad story. It’s about me, but since it isn’t something I remember saying, I can tell you as if it were someone else and tell you that it breaks my heart that someone would think this. Last time I was in for chemo I was talking with the nurse that was with me the night I ended up in ICU. I told her the last thing I remember saying out loud before waking up in ICU was, “I look like I’m about to give birth to twins!” ( that’s how distended my stomach was). She said, “I remember very clearly the last thing you said to ME before you went in ICU. ” She got teary as she told me how she had left the room after I had gone into the bathroom. I was miserable and my mom called her back in to see if she could help me. When she came in the restroom, apparently I just looked up at her and asked, “WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?”.
As I have pondered this response from me, that came without conscious thought, it saddens me that somehow, in my core of cores, I have believed the lie that if circumstances are bad, I must be doing something wrong. I must be displeasing God. I am missing the “BLESSED” life and it’s all my fault. Mind you, I would argue this truth with YOU if you told me you believed this is how God operates, but clearly I am unconvinced that he extends the same “gospel” to me. As if I am unique in how he “blesses”.
I have scoured the dictionary and the bible and tried to come up with a definition of “Blessing” or being “Blessed” that helps me understand it better. Frankly, I am confusing myself even more. It’s like a whole book worth of information. I want things more simple and to the point. SO-here’s what i have been mulling over, for the past few years, actually. I realize I have been basing my view of BLESSING on the lie of the American Dream. You know it well….If you are working hard and pleasing God then your life ( your external life, anyway) will always go up and to the right: better jobs, bigger houses, more money, more stuff, good kids, etc. Then, when “real” life happens and we lose a job or have to downsize or our kids rebel or we get cancer, we (I) feel like maybe we are “doing something wrong.” When I start “comparing my insides to other people’s outsides” I convince myself that I am a mess and those who appear to have it all together are the ones actually receiving God’s blessings.
Then I read through the Psalms and David talks over and over again (complaining, actually) about how the wicked prosper. He says in Psalm 73:12, “this is what the wicked are like-always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure.” Ohhh, somebody call the Whaambulance, David. But I’d be right in there with him. I am starting to see the light, slowly but surely. I am realizing, especially over the past few years and more acutely after being diagnosed with Leukemia, that I see and sense God BLESSING me now more than when I had the job and the stuff and the house and the money and the “false security” of good health and a pretty nice head of hair.
Thank the Lord that he saved me from the same messed up thinking that David engaged in ( until he, too, came to his senses). David wailed and whined like I often have: “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. FOR I ENVIED THE ARROGANT WHEN I SAW THE PROSPERITY OF THE WICKED.. THEY HAVE NO STRUGGLES; THEIR BODIES ARE HEALTHY AND STRONG. THEY ARE FREE FROM THE BURDENS COMMON TO MAN; THEY ARE NOT PLAGUED BY HUMAN ILLS.” Ever think those kinds of things? Later David (in the same schizophrenic Psalm, mind you) also says: “When my heart was grieved and my spirit EMBITTERED, I was senseless and ignorant…YOU hold me by my right hand. YOU guide me with your counsel…whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
In my trials and pain, I have to honestly say that I have NEVER felt more BLESSED inside than when my circumstances have appeared to be disastrous on the outside. Your average person wouldn’t say to someone with Leukemia, “boy, God is really blessing you.” But they would be missing the point of the kind of blessings God grants. It only took me 44 yrs to figure this out-along with a dose of a BLESSED Terminal Disease. 🙂