Sunday, June 12, 2011


“What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?” ~ Laura Story

I woke up this morning with this song in my head.  Which I’m grateful to God for, since I went to sleep with feelings of ugly anger and bitter resentment in my heart. 

The other night on Facebook, I felt bombarded by all the posts from people whose teens had received or were receiving senior awards - while feeling hurt and resentful that my son did not.  Last week, everywhere I looked I saw pictures posted of the teens who attended their Senior Prom and tortured myself by reading all the wonderful comments from friends and, of course, the proud parents - while feeling sad and bitter because my son did not attend his.  And then later, I read that a friend’s teen and school mate of my son’s received a scholarship to a local college my son plans on attending this fall - and felt angry and envious because my son received nothing.  Add to this the fact that someone close to my son  whom we both admire and consider a friend is about to disappoint him (he’s already disappointed me with his news) and I was NOT a happy camper! 

I threw myself an incredibly huge pity party before I retired for the evening.  I knew it was wrong to feel that way, wallowing in my own ilk and self-pity and acting like such a whiner baby.   After all, am I not the one who is constantly telling one of my dear friends who is struggling and feeling like she and her family have been given the short end of the stick for some time now in the blessings department to NOT compare herself and her life to other people’s?  Am I not the one reminding her that looking at life through eyes clouded by entitlement and envy, bitterness and resentment is unhealthy and an enemy tactic that causes spiritual blindness?

Ahh, yes...I’m quite good at dispensing sage advice to others, but not so good at following it myself.   So, I went to sleep with anger, bitterness, envy, resentment, hurt, self-pity and entitlement as my bed partners.  It’s a wonder that I was able to get any sleep at all with that crowd

But...thank You Lord!....this morning,  I woke up with Laura Story’s song “Blessings” playing on a loop through my head:

What if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

So...who am I to look down on another’s joy, envying those whom God has chosen to bless in a particular way because I believe I deserve those very same blessings in my own life, for me and for my family?  Who am I to get angry at God for not giving me MY piece of the pie?   I’m doing the very same thing I preach at my friend NOT to do. 

And I think of my other friend whose teen received the scholarship – do I also want the trials with which this friend has been inundated recently?  Do I envy her loss of marriage and spouse’s love and trust? Loss of her vehicle? Loss of support from her church? Loss of her home, loss of her job?   I should be THRILLED for this gift that God has blessed my friend and her child with, a gift that is so very needed right now.  I shouldn’t be acting like a spoiled rotten brat of a child, whining because she missed the ice cream truck while her friends are all happily and contentedly sitting together on the curb, licking their ice cream cones or Popsicles.

When I take time to think on it, I can see that God has certainly given me my share of blessings, and brought my son from a mighty long way to where he is now. Frankly, years ago when our family was first given our son’s diagnosis of a chromosomal disorder AND an autism spectrum disorder, I never thought we’d wind up as far as we’ve come.  God has blessed us with great education opportunities for him and some amazing and wonderfully kind, caring and compassionate teachers along the way.   And I look back on how God has certainly brought ME from a mighty long way to where I am now.  He’s brought me through loss, rejection, betrayal, violence and illness, among other things. I have no reason to be envious and ungrateful.  I have no reason to be angry and bitter. I have no reason to whine and complain.

I think now of the apostle Paul’s words in the book of Philippians; in chapter two, verse, 14,  he advises us not to grumble or complain.  I like the Amplified Bible’s translation:

“Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining against God and questioning and doubting among yourselves.” 

This is so we will remain pure & uncontaminated, faultless and without guilt, enabling us to reflect Jesus Christ and His character to those in this world who don’t know Him and who have been tainted by all its filth.  But I also take it as being content with the life we’ve been given by God, gratefully accepting all He’s planned for us, taking the good with the bad, rather than wallowing in discontent while foolishly and arrogantly railing against Him Who loves us unfailingly and unconditionally.  And later, in his letter to the Philippians, Paul also speaks of being content in every circumstance.  Again, the Amplified Bible says it best for me in chapter four, verses 11 -13:

“...for I have learned how to be  content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.  I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.  I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency.”

And Job, when niggled by his grief stricken wife to shelve his integrity, call it quits with God, curse Him and die, had this to say then as a reminder to us now:  "Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?" (Job 2:10, HCSB) 

These concerns I’m allowing to get the best of me are truly trivial in the grand scheme of things.  While I continue to struggle with comparing myself to people who seem to be more blessed and highly favored than I am on any given day, it would do well for me to also take time to remember there are those who have it much, much worse in life than I, struggling just to make it through another day, all in one piece.  Lord, I need You to help me to let these things go!!

How do I know what’s around the corner, waiting for me and my family? How can I be sure of what God’s got in store for us next?  Whether it’s blessings, trials or mediocrity, I don’t know and I can’t be sure.  All I do know and am certain of is that God has a plan for my life, for my husband’s, my son’s, my daughter’s lives.  It’s all about accepting that it’s His will, not mine, and moving forward from there, joyfully and gratefully. 

So what if maybe, through trials, unanswered prayers, desires withheld and changed up circumstances....what if MAYBE God has something different and better in mind for us – a lesson to be learned, a strengthening to be given, a transformation to take place -- via a road less traveled that is unfamiliar and unwanted by us, but familiar to God and necessary for us to walk down with Him?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise? ~ Blessings, by Laura Story

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