I will save the lame
And gather the outcast,
And I will turn their shame into praise and renown
In all the earth.
“At that time I will bring you in,
Even at the time when I gather you together;
Indeed, I will give you renown and praise
Among all the peoples of the earth,
When I restore your fortunes before your eyes,”
Says the Lord.
They say “patience is a virtue” — and I’m sure it is, but it can be hard to remember “The LORD is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…” when your life is hanging in the balance waiting to see what God is going to do about it. I agree with my pastor when he says that the promised blessings of the LORD are spiritual, not temporal and material. He has much higher goals in mind for me than to “bless” me with “stuff” that will pass away.
At the same time, Psalm 27 offers hope that not all His blessings must wait until I am in His presence:
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
I may not be able to experience His full glory here on earth, yet He still is working good things to bless me even now. I am not asking the excessive and frivolous. I know other people in other countries have it worse than I, on my worst day and I should be grateful. I am grateful — but being grateful and content in the now does not negate the fact that God has greater things in mind for me and they are not all far off in the next life.
Trusting Him through our circumstances does not mean having small visions and expectations of my God who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that I can think or imagine (Ephesians 3). It means being ready to receive whatever He has in mind, without pre-defining and boxing Him in to answer in the way I have decided would be good. It means trusting that no matter how good I think my answer would be, His will be better. It means knowing that He doesn’t need my help or anyone else’s to bless us with all that we need here on Earth and not trying to take the reins from Him when He doesn’t answer in the time or manner in which I or anyone else expects.
Most of all, it means, holding fast to my conviction that He is good and He is good FOR me all the time and the best and only way to experience the full measure of the blessing with which He wants to bless me and my kids, is to cling tightly to faithfulness and obedience to Him. He is the answer when I don’t know the answer so that’s where I want to be found when He deems it time to bring forth the next installment of His blessings on my life. For there have been many, even in the midst of our trials, but He is not finished with me yet. With my LORD and my GOD, the story is always “To be continued…”
Nonetheless, scripture is clear that there are blessings for God’s beloved here on earth while we wait for the ultimate blessings of heaven. Some people overspiritualize the idea of sacrificial patience in the sufferings of this earth to gain the eternal rewards of glory. While God does use our sufferings to teach us more about Him and grow us spiritually, the whole martyr complex mentality that it will never be any better than this on earth and I can earn God’s favor by how much I suffer — I don’t see that anywhere in the scriptures. I choose to believe that as I draw closer to him through the difficult times of life, He is bringing about good things and necessary provisions as a foreshadowing, a precursor, a sample chapter, a teaser or a trailer for the majesty yet to come. Good things are coming — and I will see them unfold before my very eyes, in the land of the living. May God’s revealing of His nature and His character here on Earth never lull me into passivity and taking it for granted, losing the wonder of His friendship, but draw me ever closer to Him to witness the even greater things to come!
For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His.
2 Chronicles 16:9
Be strong and courageous for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
I am not ashamed for I know in WHOM I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12