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Seeing the Face of God

For the past 32 years of my life I have mistook blessing and abundance, or lack thereof, as a gauge for how God felt about me.

If life went well, I must have followed all the rules and somehow (by a long shot and a lucky draw), jumped into God's good graces.

If life went bad, I was a mess of chaos and depression. Desperate to fix what I could never atone for. Desperate to be perfect so that God would love me and give me the life I dreamed.

Both of these are incredibly flawed perceptions of God's love for me, for us.

So often I have mused over the why's in life and the funny things we say. Like, "She is so blessed her husband lived or marriage healed, or child survived that wreck". But then I question, what do we say to the woman in the back wearing black who is mourning horrendous trauma? Is she not blessed? Did she do something wrong to deserve the life she has endured?

It reminds me of the single minded judgment of Jobs' friends - Job clearly had sinned, no good God would have caused such havoc and pain for no reason. Right?

But then I read Matthew 5. A familiar passage.

Matthew five's beatitudes are often quoted as a badge of honor for those who have walked some difficult road. Sometimes, most times, incorrectly used along with the thought, "This plight in life is just my cross to bear". Unfortunately, this also comes with a victim crutch that keeps us swirling in the broken mindset that God's love and blessings are earned by some merit of our own.

But upon further investigation, this passage turns the whole, "be good, get blessed and life will be easy" theory on its head.

Instead of a prosperity gospel, Jesus assures us that those who are persecuted, treated horribly, poor, weak, needy, are the ones who are blessed.

Wait, come again?

Those who suffer are actually the blessed ones? Not the moms with the perfect hair, marriage, kids and 8 passenger hybrid vehicle?

And it's as I search back through those familiar passages we love to rattle off to those in pain, this theory starts to build more traction.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalms 34:18

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

If God says He blesses those who are struggling and is close to those who are breaking and hurting, can we then begin to put two and two together and realize that abundance isn't always the same as being blessed. That sometimes the pain of the most difficult season is where we will find the most blessing because it is where Jesus promises to hold us the closest.

It's this thought that allows me the freedom to grab my life back from the hands of the enemy who constantly rubs my face in my ruins as testament to the evidence that my God doesn't care. And instead I can confidently declare the opposite is true because the struggle is the blessing. I am the most blessed of women not because my life has been easy or without hardship, but because of it.

Because in the darkest hour, the light of my Savior has shown the brightest, His arms have held me the closest, and His sweet songs of love have led me to my deliverance.

Still don't believe me? Ask any of your favorite Bible characters, from David to Daniel, and Peter to Paul, would they have preferred a life of ease of "worldly blessing" of promotion and success in exchange for the dark moments when they experienced God at His finest? I think the answer would be unanimous. They would never give up seeing God for a simpler life.

Friend, might I offer today this thought, the comparison you hold that has created such bitterness and contempt in your heart towards your God is all built off a lie and a scheme of the enemy to tempt you to curse God and die.

The truth is, it's those with a bloodied and bruised heart and a tear stained pillow that will be able to say, "I saw the face of God and He IS good!" These my friends, those among us with battle scars and worn out knees from years of prayers - these are the blessed among us, because they have known their Savior in a way we never can without the struggle.

No, our battles don't lack His sovereign hand. They are not a sign of His cruelty and hard heart. They are His love. Because in these moments we wish away, He declares: "Come a little closer daughter, touch the hem of my garment. Lay your head on my shoulder and rest. Take my hand and walk in green pastures with me. Let me strengthen your faith. Only the ones who walk this road, this heartbreak, only they can know the true meaning of being blessed, because they get to see and know ME!"

We all have known pain. Have we let our pain know our God?

You think this moment will end you. You are sure you will never be the same. You question His goodness and fear the future. But my dear sister, hear me today, this trial IS the greatest blessing you are being offered. It's up to you to reach out and take it.

Love, E

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Beautifully written Emily. Thank you for the reminder of God’s true love and blessings for us.

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Thank you for reading!

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