When God Gives Unexpected Blessings
Most of us count our blessings–the usual ones. But what if God decides to send some rather, um, unexpected blessings?
For the last few years, my husband and I have been systematically sorting through every closet, every drawer, and every space in our home. (Actually it seems like we’ve been “re-organizing” all our married lives). I have been trying to fulfill a long-time promise to him to de-clutter and organize our home more efficiently. And that’s a hard task for a sentimental collector like me.
My usual objections always rise to the surface: It’s a waste of good, creative time. I’m not skilled at organizing. It’s too hard to decide what stays and what goes. I just don’t have time to do it. When would I write?
But love has a way of breaking down your defenses, and God has a way of reminding you of your promises. It means putting other things on hold to accomplish the task. Adding “redecorating” to the process always helps. Ah, creativity!
Still, there have been times when I wanted to give up. The task seemed endless. We finally struck a compromise: I would weed out, if my husband would reorganize what was left. Ouila!
No More Garage Sales!
A few years ago, our garage sale was so huge, our neighbor left a message on our phone saying, You’re not moving, are you? After staring at those merchandise-filled tables for two days, I wondered why I ever kept that baggage in the first place. When that sale ended, we even toted 11 boxes full of discards to a nearby charity. Surely no more need for garage sales!
But we’ve had two more since then. Where does this “stuff” come from, anyway? We both agreed the last one would be the last one. We value our marriage too much.
The house is almost finished—both the redecorating and the organizing. (Okay, maybe just the redecorating). And through this process God taught me something—many things, in fact. What started out as a huge, dreaded burden ended up a fantastic blessing. I can find things in record time. I have a new admiration for my husband, and he thinks he got a new wife! The house has a fresh look—and God gave me a new confidence. Not to mention all the stories that evolved during that time!
But lest I start feeling smug about that status, it only takes a few months to make me realize we will never be finished “de-cluttering.” I’m tired of “going through” closets and drawers, again and again. I don’t want to hold onto things I don’t use when others could benefit from them. But neither do I want to spend all my time and energy sorting and discarding.
It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over
One day God whispered to me, “Life is a constant necessary process of discarding, rearranging, and redecorating—preparing for your final home. But life is also filled with my blessings.”
God’s blessings come in all shapes and sizes. He loves to bless His people! But after a closer look in the Bible, I discovered many blessings I had never thought about–like getting rid of stuff—excess baggage that interferes with our intimacy with Him and His peaceful presence in our lives. In fact, I found that knowing God more intimately is one of the best blessings of all.
Eight Unexpected Blessings (Just for Starters)
At Thanksgiving, what better time to think through and appreciate the unexpected blessings God shows us—especially the ones pointing to His character. Here are just a few:
If you’ve ever experienced God’s hand of discipline, and you were allowed to see His reasons for doing so, you can never say, “I don’t deserve that kind of treatment.” Instead, you would thank your Father God for His protection and wisdom.
If you have struggled with an unchangeable defect or a menacing weakness, and felt God’s power in the midst of it, you understand the blessing of God’s overcoming strength being made perfect through you.
If you’ve come near to losing someone who is precious to you, you can thank God for His mercy, for second chances and the gift of time. You will treasure each day and each memory—and you will love more deeply.
If you’ve ever observed the awesome handiwork of God in nature and basked in the beauty and wonder of His creation, you cannot help but praise Him profusely.
If you have lost a loved one, experienced deep grief and the pain of loneliness, and felt God’s arms around you, then you understand the pain and the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice for you—and you will thank God for His tender and compassionate comfort.
If you have ever broken God’s heart through sin (and we all have), then you can never say to God, “I deserve more.” Instead, you will thank God for His infinite love—and for the hunger to know Him deeply, and cry out to Him, “God, You deserve more!”
If you have survived a near accident, pulled through a crushing blow, or felt His peace in the midst of a storm, you are eternally grateful for your Master Potter, and for the Blessed Controller who is shaping you into His image and who values you as His child.
If you have ever asked God for something, and received God’s “No,” but then He answered with something far better than you could ever have hoped or imagined, then you can thank God that He works all things out for your good—and that His ways are not your ways.
That’s only the beginning, but you get the idea. And it really doesn’t matter if you live in another country where Thanksgiving is not a national holiday like it is in America. We all forget. That’s why I love to remind others—and myself, that we are indeed a most blessed people. That’s why my heart wells up with gratitude daily, yes, thanking God for His blessings, but with a pleading, “Oh God. Please! How can I bless you?” I pray that instead of offering a word of thanks this year, we will give Him more. Instead of thanksgiving, may we pledge to Him our thanksliving.
“O give thanks to the Lord.” Psalm 105:1
Note: I used parts of this blog in a newsletter several years ago (pre-blog days), but felt its constant truths, like my closets, needed revisiting. If you want to learn more about how God uses this process of redecorating and rearranging our lives, you might like to read an earlier book I wrote called At Home in My Heart. But be forewarned. It will challenge you to make your heart a welcome place for God’s presence– and His blessings– to flourish.
What about you? What “unexpected blessings” has God shown/given you? What are you most thankful for this year? Share your comments in the section below. And feel free to encourage someone by forwarding this blog to others, using the buttons below. HAPPY THANKSIVING TO ALL OF YOU!