Sometimes I wish that there was another word to use to describe how I feel rather than always falling back on the word blessed. Now don’t get me wrong, I am indeed blessed because I am God’s child and He loves me. I like the way Ogilvie puts it, “To be a blessed person is to know, feel, and relish God’s affirmation and assurance, acceptance and approval. It is the experience of being chosen and cherished, valued and enjoyed.” Yes, I am a blessed person and I delight in that fact. And thus my dilemma. You see there are times that I take in my surroundings, my home and neighborhood, and all I can think to say is how blessed am I. But what troubles me is that by saying that or even feeling that, I become guilty of mixing up my generous retirement package from the Army with what it truly means to be blessed. I don’t need to tell you that being blessed has nothing to do with goods or money, yet how deprived and unblessed we feel when we don’t have them.
You see, I worked for the Army for over forty years so I feel that I have earned my pension and thus am grateful to own a beautiful home in a lovely neighborhood; but I have done nothing to earn God’s blessing. So as I enjoy my home I need to remind myself that the rewards of one’s labor can give you a pleasing sense of pride and accomplishment but one should not mistake it for God’s blessing.
I love God’s gentle corrections and the ways in which He guides my thinking. I had been pondering these thoughts about being blessed when I began reading Lloyd John Ogilvie’s book, When You Need a Miracle. In the second chapter I began reading about Jacob and the whole idea of blessing (I just love when God does this kind of thing…not only answers my questions but enlarges my thinking and knowledge on the subject.). Ogilvie is explaining the need that we all have for love and affirmation and notes that if this has been withheld it becomes difficult for the individual to even receive God’s blessing. He writes: “My thesis is this: People who feel unblessed become strong-willed. The more unblessed a person feels, the more he or she inadvertently develops a willfulness to maintain control and keep from being hurt. The blessed are just the opposite. People who feel affirmed and loved are flexible, receptive, willing. But the unblessed become willful wrestlers. They strive for the blessing from others, expressed in approval and esteem; but they often resist, and usually question, overtures of blessing from people and most of all from God. Striving and resisting become a survival tactic.”
When I read this I could immediately think of some personal circumstances where I could see this kind of behavior playing itself out. My heart aches for those who find themselves in such a state. I pray God that, like Jacob, they wrestle with God for His blessing. When they do, they discover that it is not God who is keeping them from receiving blessing, but in the wrestling they discover the depth of God’s love for them.
Thank You, Lord that now when I say that I feel blessed I know exactly what I mean!