When the Good Things in Life Aren't What You Expected
As Jonathan and I struggle through this beautiful hardship of being foster parents and witnessing firsthand the hurt and evil of this world I have been digging deep to find the good in all of this.
"The Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."
I think that we tend to have a misconstrued view of this verse and what it actually means for us as Christians. This verse is one of many that falls freely from our lips in times of trouble and tears. A band-aid slapped over a slash to the heart as if it can stop the gushing flow of hurt.
Countless times have I heard Christians say things along the lines of "the Lord rewards those who follow him" and "it pays to trust the Lord"...
...but what about when it doesn't?
Because in my experience following God is not exactly a joy ride. It's hard and messy and ugly more times than not. And what about those who have faithfully followed and served the Lord all their life and yet He doesn't answer their prayer to have a loved one healed of cancer, or they lose their job and their house is foreclosed on, or the long-awaited pregnancy ends in miscarriage like all of the others before it? Where is the good in all of that?
When we say the Lord rewards those who follow him, what we're really saying is that we have control over our lives if we follow rules x, y and z. As if you can measure someone's relationship with God by their earthly circumstances.
We say we're blessed when good things, as the world sees them, happen to us. Your children are all healthy, make friends easily and do well in school. You just landed your dream job right out of college and will have no trouble paying off those student loans. You've finally saved enough money to build your dream home or go on that vacation to Europe. While these things aren't bad, I don't think they're what God meant when he said "no good thing would he withhold from those whose walk is blameless".
The only thing good in this life is Jesus.
He is the good that is promised us. In times of joy and times of trial He will not withhold himself from us.
"Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God...Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven." Matt. 5:8,10 & 12
For those of us who know Christ as our personal Savior we have been promised the Holy Spirit. He dwells within us and will be with us forever as a helper until that glorious day when we are united with God in Heaven; that is the greatest thing we could wish for!
What if we measured the good things in this life not by earthly standards of happiness and ease, but by the joy and peace found in the Spirit, by the breaking and shaping of ourselves to be more like Jesus.