Blessings come in many shapes, sizes and colors. They can range in scope from the ordinary/mundane blessing of everyday living, to the outright miraculous blessing of a changed human heart. Sometimes the thought of blessing being brought out of a tragedy or crisis seems almost weird to those unfamiliar with the ways of God. That is why when someone is looking for help and hope in the Counseling Room, we talk about how trials can indeed open the door to unexpected blessing. Romans 8:28 unabashedly proclaims:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
It is always interesting and amazing to listen to one of my clients who, after getting through a crisis, talks about how God blessed them through their trial. Life can be hard, but those who trust in God’s goodness are blessed as they in faith:
- Ask themselves the question, “In the light of Eternity, how big is this?” Answering this question honestly helps to look at whatever problem is being faced with greater wisdom and objectivity.
- Follow Jesus’ example (Mark 6:41) by giving thanks in advance for how God is going to bring blessing out of trouble.
- Wait and watch for God to bring blessing out of heartache and disappointment. Psalm 27:14 encourages all who struggle:
“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” (NASB)
Recently our family was given an opportunity to test this wisdom out when we experienced one of those weird, unrecognizable blessings through a car accident. It started when my son-in-law’s Steve’s job prevented him from being able to go on a family vacation. Finding that there was not going to be another time to work out a visit, my daughter Kara invited me to help drive the 500+ miles to visit my other daughter (Amy), son-in-law and four grandchildren. (That meant that all seven of my grandchildren would be together so you can bet that I jumped at the opportunity!) Kara and I traded off driving all day with my three grandson’s in the backseat. When we were almost to our destination I glanced at the GPS to get an idea of what curves were ahead on the road. When I looked back, the line of cars in front of me had stopped and, realizing it too late, we hit the rear of the car in front of us. All I can remember is hearing a series of “pops” as we impacted the other car, the windshield shattered in front of us and the air bag exploded in my face. Upset at what had happened, I wished the Lord would take me out of the situation! (He didn’t.) Instead, I was able to give thanks for the miracle that no one was seriously hurt as the acrid fumes of motor oil and coolant wafted through the air. My ego was bruised to the max as we watched my daughter’s totaled car being towed away.
I was still upset when we got to our destination so my daughters suggested we pray. Kara started by praying, “Lord, You sure do allow weird things that we don’t understand! But this much we do know, that You will work everything that has happened for our good so we trust You for that.” I was initially stunned at the thought of calling God “weird” but her prayer so fit what we were all struggling with!
Later that evening I got down to the business of applying what I have taught so many others:
- I asked myself the question, “In the light of Eternity, how big is this?” I had to admit that although it seemed HUGE to me and my family at the time, it really was in the “small potatoes” scheme of things. I stopped beating myself up and gave thanks for God’s grace.
- I thought about Jesus giving thanks in advance over the loaves and fishes before feeding the five thousand people who had followed Him. Reflecting on that I gave thanks to God for my family who were exceedingly kind and patient as everything unfolded. At that point we had no idea as to how insurance would handle it but I trusted God to work it out for our best. As I thought about my son-in-law Steve and his frustration in not being with his family when the accident happened, I prayed for God to work His will out as He comforted Steve’s heart.
- I committed to watching and waiting for God’s will to be worked out in our family.
The next day, Steve was able to take leave from work to be with his family. He drove the whole way on his own and what a blessing it was to have him join us! At the end of the week I was able to say, “I hate what happened that brought you here, but we’re all so very glad that you came!” It has been twelve days since the accident and we are still “watching and waiting” as God works out good for our family through this very weird blessing. One thing is for sure, we are learning to trust God more as we thank Him for the gift of each and every day!
All to His Glory!