April 27, 2011 § 3 Comments
“Why can’t you kids be more grateful” I heard myself say. “Don’t you know there are kids in the world who don’t have enough to eat, or clothes to wear or homes to live in? Don’t you know there are kids who don’t get birthday presents or Christmas presents, kids that don’t get vacations or trips to Florida?” I ranted, on a roll now…” Do you realize how blessed you are that God has given us good health and given Daddy a job that can pay for our home and our food and our clothes and our family vacation?”
Then my six-year old daughter looks at me with the gears of her inquisitive mind rolling and asks:
“But Mommy, if we are so blessed, why hasn’t God blessed other people?”.
Good question. Rant officially stopped in its tracks.
In recent years, I began to get afraid. I looked all around me and saw God’s many blessings. I am married to a wonderful man, we have a mercifully strong marriage, we have four amazing and healthy children (two boys, two girls), my husband and I both enjoy good health, we are financially stable, we have terrific friends and family, we live in a peaceful country that isn’t torn apart by war or natural disaster, we have a beautiful spacious home. It seems too good to be true. Something bad has got to happen – nobody has it this good, and if they do, it isn’t for very long. We must have some terrible tragedy planned for us later if we have it this good now. I started to get really nervous. I started worrying about it far more often than I should have. Anxiety would grip me when my husband travelled or my kids stayed with someone else. I would run through scenarios in my head of what I would do if an accident befell one of them, how I would react, steps I would take. I was constantly in emergency preparedness training. It was exhausting, for me and I’m sure, for those around me.
So I started to share my concerns, and look for reassurance. I prayed, a lot. I started sharing it with a few people I felt comfortable discussing it with. I got various opinions and insights. And then one day, while driving, it came to me. I was enjoying a quiet moment for my mind to wander as the children had fallen asleep from the warm afternoon sunshine embracing our vehicle. I had just left my women’s Bible Coffee group so my mind was open and permeated with scripture and thoughts of God’s work. The group had discussed how miracles are often seen better through the experience of tragedy, crisis or extreme difficulty – how people come closer to God or can see His work with more clarity once they have experienced an astounding recovery from an unfortunate circumstance. As I drove, I thought to myself, “why does God need to hit us over the head with a tragedy or crisis in order for us to see His miracles? Why can’t we see the miracles He creates for us every day, for example, like this beautiful sunshiny day?” And that was God hitting me over the head.
My blessed life is the miracle.
Miracles don’t have to be preceded by tragedy if we open our eyes and minds enough to see the ones He creates right in front of us. My family’s good circumstances are a series of blessings that have formed one glorious and rolling miracle. I feel so dense to have not seen it sooner. And now, instead of fear, I have gratitude. Instead of guilt, I have humility. Thanks be to God.
So next question…why have I been given this miracle?
The quick answer, I thought, is that it is part of my ongoing faith journey, building my relationship with God. But I have come to realize that there is more to it than that (of course there is more to it than that, this is God, after all!).
At the conclusion of my women’s Bible Coffee sessions, we always leave time to collect prayer intentions for the week. We give praise for answered prayers and God’s work in our lives and the lives of those we love, and we learn news of those who are experiencing difficult times and need the extra help that only prayer can provide. It is sometimes difficult to listen to the many hardships brought up week-over-week, as I often wish there was something I could do in addition to praying, something let’s say, more “earthly”; some way that I can be a vessel of God’s love and assistance to these people. Graciously, every so often, I can. God provides me with opportunities to support others: tokens, gestures, favours, ideas or financial help I can provide. Sometimes it’s easy for me to do, and sometimes it takes great strides and effort. And sometimes, when I feel like I’ve reached a threshold myself, like I can’t mentally absorb any more demands and I just need to unload, someone comes to me with a need for support, and I am still able to give more, because despite what I am experiencing, their need is still more dire than my own. God has granted me this Blessed Life Miracle, so that I can focus my energy on helping others, without being distracted by my own issues.
Thank you Lord, for this insight. I have found purpose. And if at anytime I feel doubt, fear or guilt creeping in, I just go find someone who needs help – it is rare that I have to search very hard.