Hopefully as you read this you can follow! I’ll hopefully revise it at some point to better flesh out my thoughts and make them more plain. Enjoy!
It’s easier for a camel to make it through an eye of a needle than a rich man go to heaven. Why is that? I’m beginning to understand that statement. I’m not really rich, especially since I have school debt hanging over my head.
What I have had though is God’s blessings in my life, and because of those I’m very rich.
Most would stop there and think it some great spiritual statement because I’ve acknowledged God’s amazing blessings in my life. But what about my first sentence? A lot of the time we hear talk about how people grow close to God during the most difficult times in their lives (it’s happened to me), but more often we hear how people fall spiritually when they have everything going for them. They have a great ministry, great family, and have enough finances. They have God’s blessings all around them. It also sounds like Israel. Things would be going great for Israel, they would have peace and prosperity. As we read on, we find that they turned back to their idols and kindled the anger of God. Can we blame Him?
When a lover showers gifts, flowers, time, and money on his beloved he at least hopes that because of his care for her she’ll come to care for him because of the riches of the love that he has shown towards her. Instead, she finds someone who isn’t good at all for her. He brings her down, and she becomes who she isn’t meant to be. The man is angry, because other guy she goes after doesn’t care for her. He only wanted to use her, while the man showed her true lasting love.
Once she realizes the direction she is going, she doesn’t understand how she could have been so crazy to go after someone else other than the man who loved her so much. She realizes her mistakes and makes effort to bring the relationship to right standing. He accepts her apologies and works with her to mend their relationship, which he never stopped loving her even while she went astray. We’ve seen similar stories in Hollywood, and for good reason. It’s a good story of complete redemption.
So back to the rich man. She was the ‘rich man.’ The man was a cheap example of God. She had everything going for her, but instead chose something that would only destroy her in the end. She chose something that didn’t care any bit of her worth, just what she could offer just to use her for whatever whim he had. Such is the nature of sin when we choose it above what God has to offer us. It uses us, doesn’t care about us, and will ultimately destroy us.
Anger in light of this is a very valid emotion and it is not sinful. God never sins in His anger, even when turning tables in the temple. He showers blessings, and too many times in the midst of those wonderful blessings sin looks even more attractive. When we are given money, more money looks more attractive than the Person from whom it was given. When we are given great friends, their relationships become more important than the One who first initiated relationship with us. Our gifts become more important the giver and we forget who He is. Our hearts become numb to His importance because we have so much, which comes in contrast to how easy it can be to see our need for Him when we have nothing. He is all we have.
Why can’t that last sentence – that line of thinking – be what we have when we aren’t going through troubles? We can relate so easily to David and Jeremiah when the world is on our shoulders, but what about when we are on top of the world? Who do we have to relate to? Whom other than the kings of Israel including David? David could have what he wanted, yet he killed for Bathsheba and committed adultery with her. He was one who was rich but knew that God was thesource of His blessings, and knew the rich die with the poor alike.
When we have so much going for us, we cannot forget where that comes from. Those blessings should turn into praises because of the nature of the love of God that He would give those things to us. Rich or poor, we still deserve death. We’ve been given life, and so much more beyond that. I know this is true for me. I had a time where life was very difficult, but also I had the most intimate relationship with God I had in my life. I was keenly aware of His blessings during that time, even when my heart and mind were dulled with pain and business. Then that flipped and changed, God healed the pain and fulfilled His promises to me.
Usually people would imagine an incredible relationship with God after that. I thought so too, especially since I longed to be healed from pain and sought His promises for so long. Yet instead of a spiritual high, I got a spiritual low. I had nothing pressuring me so hard into God like I had. I had begun to enjoy His blessings. Then I started to loose sight of Him. In the ensuing years, I’ve been really blessed with wonderful years at school with challenging ministries and deep relationships. I had my troubles for sure, but nothing like what pressured me in years past. Then we come to my internship, in which the month before God provided immensely and during my time here I’ve seen nothing but the blessings of God since I’ve been here. It’s been that way even during the challenges and difficulties, because those turned into blessings as well.
I’ve been really rich being here, with so many praying for me and God answering their prayers. I would call my experience here perfect, being blessed everywhere I turn. Relationships have been wonderful and challenging with both nationals and the missionary community. I’ve had many great opportunities. I’ve been able to reconnect with my past and build my future. Amidst so many great things, the richness of the blessing has opened my eyes to the great challenge that’s been lain before me for these past years of His favor. Instead of growing with Him in pain, the challenge is to grow with Him in blessing and His patience. At times in honesty, I’ve wanted difficulty to arise in my life because it’s easier for me to be closer to God in that because I had learned that so well.
As is evident, I’ve had things backward. His blessings were meant to bring me closer to Him, an invitation to His righteousness (Romans 2:4). They weren’t something to resent because hard times make it easier to rest in His love. Instead of drawing us away, blessings are meant to bring us closer to Him because they remind us constantly of theSource. They are supposed to produce righteousness, praise, and worship. I know how different my life could be if He wasn’t giving me these blessings. For that, I can be thankful from the depths of my soul because of the riches of who He is in giving me all of these things. I know I certainly don’t deserve them, because I’m far from perfect. Again, that’s the whole purpose of blessings. We don’t deserve God’s lovingkindness, but in our realization of His love it’s going to produce righteousness.
It is difficult, and now I’m realizing this is yet another challenge and trial by fire He is working in my life. It takes just as much if not more effort to keep focus on Him when things are going well. If we can learn to keep our eyes on Him in whatever area of life we encounter – blessing, trial, mundane – how awesome would this be for His kingdom! Satan’s footholds he tries to gain in our lives to distract us would be destroyed, enabling us to be so much more fruitful and loving towards God and man!
With man, it is impossible. But with God, all things are possible!