Most of us has probably heard about the phrase “blessings in disguise”, but have you heard about the “trials in disguise”? There are things in this life that we first thought that are blessings, but if we are not careful, it may easily turn into a trial.
The Israelites received trials in disguise
At the time when the Israelites were about to enter the promise land, Moses gave the new generation of that nation a warning. It is found in Deuteronomy 8:7-11.
7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 BE CAREFUL that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.
God promised the Israelites national blessings that they will enjoy. These blessings are more on the physical aspect where they will rise as one of the history’s greatest nations. God will give them abundance and prosperity that no nation would ever experience.
Sad to say, as we continue to read the history of Israel, they fell into the temptation of idolatry and breaking God’s commandments, especially the Sabbath. By the time they are enjoying God’s blessings, they are now telling themselves “My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth”.
They became oblivious of who really is the Source of their blessings and how they have become a strong and great nation.
How blessings turn to trials
All too often, we easily conclude that we receive blessings when we obtain good things. In most cases, this is true since God is the giver of every “good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17). However, it is sad to note that our human nature and our natural tendency is to think of God only when things get rough.
When we enjoy good things, we are easily get side-tracked and forget God. When we are sufficient and lacking nothing, we think that we can make it on our own without the help of God. Just like the Israelites, we might think that our own power and strength made these blessings possible.
When we have enough food in our table, how easy and insincere we might be in praying “give us this day our daily bread” compared to when we barely have enough to eat and would still worry about our next meal.
This is evident when we as a nation face a calamity. People are urged to pray. People will bend their knees to acquire favor from God. All too often than not, people easily remember God when difficult times are up ahead or is already here.
As I write this article, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation of National Fast Day. He mentioned these words:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, WE HAVE BECOME TOO SELF-SUFFICIENT TO FEEL THE NECESSITY OF REDEEMING AND PRESERVING GRACE, TOO PROUD TO PRAY TO THE GOD THAT MADE US!
It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the OFFENDED Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
How to stop blessings from turning into trials
The same chapter of Deuteronomy gives us the solution in keeping our blessings the way it should be. Verse 18 tells us:
“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”
Moses was saying that we need to remember God always not just during the tough times, but also when we enjoy life’s smooth sailing.
But how exactly should we do this?
There is nothing wrong with enjoying God’s blessings. In fact, God wants us to experience the abundance of life and at the same time, share these blessings to others.
Every time we receive God’s blessings, WE NEED TO REMEMBER WHO THE SOURCE IS. We need to remember that all the good things we receive are not because of our own strength and power. It is through God’s grace, mercy and love that we are sustained. It is only when we develop this kind of thinking that we will truly be blessed.
In short, we need to be GRATEFUL. Gratitude is the ANTIDOTE of blessings turning into trials. When we are thankful, we will be more like God, and less like ourselves.
Blessings should bring us closer to God and not the exact opposite. Blessings must help us to build better and more intimate relationship with God. So the next time you receive blessings from God, remember to thank Him for what you have and always be reminded of God’s goodness. 🙂
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