“I will give thanks to You forever for what You have done. In the presence of Your godly people, I will wait with hope in Your good name.” Psalm 52:9
I remember when my friend came bursting into my office holding a gift in her hands and said, “This is for you! It’s a little happy!” Oh, I received her gift with such joy!! I felt so touched by her thoughtfulness and her generosity! The gift was just a token of her love and our friendship, so thanking her in return was just the most natural thing in the world! For what she had done, was … she gave me something I couldn’t WAIT to thank her for! A wonderful beautiful gift!
Aren’t those kinds of gifts so easy to receive and be thankful for? I mean after all, they are gifts that come to us packaged with the nicest paper and ribbons and are just plum fun to open!
But what about those gifts God gives that may not always come to us wrapped up in tissue paper or with bright colored paper? What about those “gifts” that come to us packaged in tests, trials, troubles and heartache? What about those “gifts” He gives that we initially want to bow our heads and say, “No thank you.” You see, the gifts of God don’t always come with a pretty bow.
God gives to us, His children, in ways that may not always be seen to be obvious “gifts of His “blessing.” If we were to be truly honest about it, the majority of us look at the abundance of material things, the freedom to travel here there and yonder, the labels we drive and the labels we wear, and the luxury of financial freedom to equate “they are so blessed by God.” We may even tend to see material things as His favor on our life. And there is some truth to that, to a point. But that’s not entirely what we see in Scripture.
God’s gifts have His glory in mind, not our own comfort and life of ease.
How does the Bible define a truly blessed person? It’s a person who lives under the favor of God. In other words, God’s smile is on their life.
John the Baptist most surely lived with the smile of God, yet, he ate locusts and honey and wore the skin of animals.
Noah definitely lived under the favor of God, and at one point all he had to his name was his family and a boat full of animals.
Apostle Paul no doubt lived under the favor of God, and he spent most of his adult years making tents as his trade so he could buy his own food and needs. He didn’t want his needs (as humble as they were) to ever be a burden to anyone.
Once a precious widow went to an altar and placed all she had into the place of offering. Jesus not only noticed, but He verbalized His favor over her life when He said, ““Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:3-5.
And of course, Jesus Himself, the Son of Man, lived under the favor of God and He was not ashamed to display His poverty among men.
I can’t help but think of missionaries around the world who live in either huts or on the streets, among those without shoes or a meal to eat. I think of men and women who have given their lives to the mission fields of countries that have no fresh water and no pillows to lay their heads. I think of youths who leave the luxuries of their lifestyles, to care for orphans in distant lands. I think of those people who have been given the GIFT of being “Set apart” by the FAVOR OF GOD to live in such a way that all they have is …. HIM!
Does living in poverty equal blessed? No, not necessarily.
Does living in wealth equal blessed? No, not necessarily.
But does trusting God and placing all our hope in His name, all our hope in His character and nature, equal “living a blessed life?” Yes!
Does thanking God for every gift of opportunity He brings into our life that cause our faith to grow and stretch and grow and stretch, equal a blessed life? Yes!
Does having a spirit of thankfulness in the face of His gifts that are “permissions given to Satan in sifting us like wheat”, equal blessed? YES!
How can I say that Satan’s sifting us like wheat could actually be a “gift” from God? It’s because of this one verse where the Lord has promised you something that no earthly gift compares!! In this one verse, He has promised the gift of His own prayers!! Prayers over your life! He has prayed for your deliverance and to be made stronger in your usefulness to Him! How powerful and precious of a gift is that??!
“But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:30-32
I don’t know what you are going through today, the tests or trials or troubles you are facing. But my prayer is that you will see it all as “gifts” from Him who loves you most! Let’s just respond to every gift with Psalm 52:9 as our prayer. No matter if it’s a gift of His grace, or a gift of His mercy, or a gift of His favor, or a gift of His on delight and honor. No matter if it’s a gift that will grow our patience or solidify our hope….let’s receive from Him with a thankful heart, forever! And then, let’s share our life with the godly….and as we open His gifts to us, let’s celebrate His good name with them.