I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12
I was walking around the pumpkin farm on a beautiful, late, October day with my family. My mom was able to walk around holding a delicious looking apple slice treat and enjoying each bite.
My wife was hobbling around on crutches, still recovering from a knee surgery she underwent about a month ago.
My mom’s hands were empty and she was able to have a delicious treat.
My wife’s hands were full (of crutches) and she was not able to hold such a treat.
It got me thinking about being blessed by God.
So often I miss out on God’s blessings because He has nowhere to put the blessing. My hands are “full” of my own stuff – work, play, toys, worry, and on and on.
It has been my experience that the tremendous blessings of God have come to me when my hands were “empty.”
And sometimes God has to empty my hands by taking away that which I would fill my hands with.
Sometimes God has to slow me down so I can receive His blessing.
Sometimes He has to take something away so there is room for the blessing.
This seems to be what St. Paul was getting at when he wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).
Sometimes God has to take things away. It can hurt. It usually isn’t an easy thing to go through. The loss of a job, the cutting of a salary, having to slow down life because of an injury, and on and on. God allows us to go through these things so that we can be ready to receive blessings from Him.
We also are more readily able to appreciate the blessings because of this process.
Hurrying the Process
But sometimes we try to rush the process. Like Sarah, the wife of Abraham, we try to speed God’s promises of blessings along. While God can work through this discontentment, bless us despite ourselves, that isn’t the best way to receive God’s blessings and we miss out on the full blessing of God.
I heard once that God is never late and rarely early. His blessings come at exactly the right time. Certainly, this was true of the blessing of our salvation,
Just the Right Time
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, emphasis added).
Jesus’ death on the cross made us, who were “ungodly” or sinners, godly. Jesus gave us the tremendous blessing of His righteousness. But first He had to take our sins away.
With that “great exchange” we can now live lives that are ready to receive all the blessings of God. To live as St. Paul describes in 1 Timothy 6:6, “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Heavenly Father, I pray for the courage and strength to have my hands emptied so that I may receive your full blessing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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