We like formulas. We want to know that when we follow the appropriate steps in the correct order that a positive outcome is guaranteed. To this end we buy books that promise such things as 6 Steps to a Happy Marriage, 8 Principles for Success in Business, and 7 keys to Getting into The College of Your Dreams. Falling for these fantastic promises in our personal lives is sad. Falling for such false promises in our spiritual lives is a tragedy.
The idea that God blesses us because of what we do is one of the biggest lies in Christianity. Too many of us fall for it.
Blessing in this life is not guaranteed by following any formula or set of rules. God’s blessings are based on His character and not our performance. While many Christians will profess this truth our lives can say otherwise. When we follow God we expect him to bless us and give us what we desire. When it doesn’t happen we find ourselves disillusioned, disappointed and depressed.
This is where I found myself in 1993. I had just started my first “real” doctor job and life was going well. Lisa and I were both teaching Sunday School and regularly attending Bible Study. We were giving more to the church than we ever had before in both time and finances and we were checking all of the spiritual boxes. Everything was going well except for the area of fertility.
We had struggled to conceive for years. Our son appeared to be a fluke, as in the three years after his birth Lisa had not conceived in spite of our not using any contraception. A miscarriage in June was disappointing but it at least confirmed that conception was possible. We were certain that God would soon bless us with another child.
In November our prayers were seemingly answered. It all made sense to us. We were faithfully serving God and He had blessed us with another pregnancy. A few weeks later the bleeding started and an ultrasound confirmed another miscarriage. We were devastated. We found ourselves wondering what had happened. We had actually thought, at least to some degree, that our faithful service would result in God answering our prayers. We were wrong.
The broken thinking that led us to believe that we had a part to play in God’s blessing us, that there was an element of earning blessings, caused our grief to be greater than it would have otherwise been. In the loss of that pregnancy we were taught the truth that God blesses in His time, for His purposes, to those that He chooses, for His reasons. We don’t earn anything.
It is only when we understand the truth of God's grace that we can break free from the lie of earned blessing. Sadly for me, it took the sorrow of loss for me to learn the lesson.
I share more details of our heartbreak and the lessons learned in the 4th part of the series I taught on Broken Thinking. All four parts are available on my vimeo page at www.vimeo.com/bartbarrett. This particular lesson can be viewed by clicking here.