Friday, December 07, 2007

The frustration of blessing

I'm reading the second chapter of the book that JtM and I are co-teaching -- Rejoicing in Hope. Several things stuck me about the chapter, but I wanted to focus on one in particular this evening.

And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. Luke 1:28-30
The author of the books says:
Perhaps she knew the Old Testament well enough to know that being "blessed" is not the same as winning the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. Thoughout Biblical history, being blessed is usually as painful as it is peaceful. Being chosen by God is is usually more dangerous than it is delightful.
Do blessings ever mean frustrations? Do we ever want to say, "Quit blessing me, God; I can't handle anymore of this."?

I received an email this week. It told a story that I'm going to paraphrase -- changing it just a little bit.

There was a man who listened to God. One day, God put a rock in front of the man, and told him to push on it. Being obedient and trustworthy, the man did as God told him to, and he pushed the boulder. It didn't move, but that didn't deter the man. Every day, he got up and pushed on the giant rock, straining and working very hard, but seeing no change.

Many months later, the man, who hadn't complained or questioned God, finally shared his frustration with God. "Father, I strain and I work, obediently doing what you have asked me to do, and pushing on this rock. Nothing is happening. The rock is not changed"

"My son, the rock has not moved, but you have changed. You are stronger, more obedient, more trusting. I don't care about the boulder; I care about you. And you have grown."

Sometimes our blessings bring us frustration. Sometimes we can see no results to what God asks us to do. God is love -- he can't help it -- it is his nature. He does nothing except out of love. When we trust him, and believe that he wants the best for us, we come to realize that even in the frustration of blessings, we are gifted.

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