January 11, 2011
The Year of Hidden Blessings
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor
"For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal." Job 5:18
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. - James 1:17
I know New Year's Eve was a couple weeks ago, but I'm still evaluating all that happened last year. Sorry, I'm a slow poke on that front. I always appreciate the post-holiday lull in January that allows for more quiet reflection, even if I don't go crazy on the New Year's resolutions. I need that time to stop going, going, going, and just take a look at what God has done.
In summing up 2010, I'm calling it the year of hidden blessings. I nearly burned my house down in February, ended up the smushed middle car in a five-car highway accident in May, nervously watch the school system where my husband works make staff cuts, and more. I feel lucky to have survived 2010, and I don't mean that as an exaggeration. Mentally, I know that I'm dependent on God's sustaining grace every year. This year, though, I practically had my nose rubbed in the fact. All the close calls made me face "what could have happened" and respond with thankfulness that it didn't. But the crazy thing is, the Lord didn't just deliver me through all these instances unscathed. He used my own stupidity to bring about good things. In other words, I experienced a whole lot of divine grace this year.
In what has become known as "The Fire" (that's capitalized), half our cabinets burned, our refrigerator and stove were effectively destroyed, and various portions of drywall got pulled down by a fire department focused on safety precautions. But in the aftermath of The Fire, we found out insurance would pay for much of the remodel . So we went to work installing a much more functional - and beautiful - kitchen. For me, this was an object lesson in how God rescues his people. I'm a results-oriented person, so I often struggle with being "good enough" for God, with "earning" favor by being a good little Christian. But Christ provides us with the gift of life despite our best efforts to fumble it. As I looked around my soot-stained kitchen, knowing that my actions had caused the destruction, and that someone else would finance the essential repairs… believe me, that's humbling.
I could go on about the other life scenarios we lived through this year, but you get the idea. In any case, each circumstance began with heartache and a "what do we do now" cry. Each ended with God making his provision known in funny, little ways. Sometimes the situation was made better materially; sometimes relationally; sometimes spiritually. Now, in 2011, I look back on each of those minor catastrophes and see that God was at work. He truly does work for the good of those who love him.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Everyday mercies surround us. After this year, I'm convinced that God uses every circumstance to bless us. That doesn't mean we will never suffer or that we will always come out on top. Instead, it means that he will use our circumstances to bring us closer to himself. That's the greatest gift we can ask for.