are what it takes to know You're near? What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?"
I think Laura Story is on to something in her song "Blessings" with those lyrics I note above. Feel free to listen to her sing this beautiful song here.
I heard this on the radio on our drive to church this morning. It set me thinking about some of the errant ways I've thought in the past - much of it learned in churches and camps and evangelistic meetings. Those those teaching it may never admit to a works theology, yet their "cause and effect" teaching is no less anti-Biblical than the people in the encounter who asked Jesus "Who sinned and caused this man's blindness?" It's sad to me now, and it causes me to wonder why so many - especially those who should know better - cling to this way of thought. In doing this, they make God smaller (at least to them) and they minimize the relationship he wishes to have.
As I pulled into the parking lot, still thinking these thoughts, my friend Tom and his wife were leaving the first service and headed to their car. Tom's about my age, but he's certainly not living life the way he had it planned. As I called out a greeting to them, Tom directed Karen to where the voice originated. She smiled - still a glowing smile despite her advanced stage of a neurological disorder. Tom gently held her arm, supporting her as they shuffled to the car.
My humanity asks, "Where's the blessing in that downpour, God? And while were on the subject, when am I going to get a permanent job with benefits again and exit this 3-year journey in the desert?" I think my studies of C.S. Lewis and John Eldridge should speak just a little louder to me when those questions strike.
Simply put, God doesn't owe me a direct answer ... none of us get that privilege. And it isn't because I've done something wrong or haven't lived up to some perfect standard. It's because he is God and I'm not. It's because the call is for me to trust him because he is always good.
Yes ... good ... even when Tom helps his wife to the car, my current job situation continues (or changes) and he headlines scream disaster. I need to adjust my view of blessings and listen to this song a few more times. Maybe it will sink in and I'll pray for blessings in an entirely different way. The path is, after all, a crooked one.