Sunday, September 30, 2007

Grace Missings

Periodically I encounter friends and acquaintances -- believers -- who exclaim about how much God is blessing them. "All these wonderful things that I have have come from God," they say. "All these contracts, all these clients, all this success and materialism -- all from God. I know it is Him and nothing I did." I hear it often, and the other day it occurred to me that while those statements are true (everything anyone has ultimately comes from God), the real test of whether a person believes them or not comes not during prosperity, but in adversity.

When all those grace blessings are missing. When there are no contracts, when there are no readers, when rejection has come again and again, what does the person think then? Is there self-condemnation? Does the person flail himself for not having written better? For not having worked harder? For lacking talent? For having made bad decisions? Does she think it's something about her and her performance and her works that has produced this lack in her life?

But wait. I thought everything came from God, as a grace gift, and nothing depended on the recipient. In situations I've observed, including my own life, the implication in the good times is that none of the blessings are deserved. Why then in the bad times do we presume to think that it's our failure that's caused the lack? It's not. Or at least it's not when it comes to our worldly performance. (okay, yes, there are some times when failure is plainly due to lack of preparation or unrealistic expectation. For example, the midget who has never played basketball and fails to be drafted by the NBA. That's not what I'm talking about.)

Instead we should look to our spiritual lives. Are we going forward in God's plan for our lives, renewing our minds by learning God's truths from our pastor-teacher on a daily basis, rebounding regularly, and trying to live in what we learn as much as possible? If not, some adjustments need to be made. If so, then you can count on the fact the lack of particular blessing has nothing to do with your performance in the world, and everything to do with God's wisdom and timing. Grace missings, that's what I call them.

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be provided for you."