We spend a lot of time counting our blessings this time of year, and that's a good thing. It's good to be thankful. I think the problem comes when we equate "blessings" with only the GOOD things.
We are "blessed" to have a car, but if it breaks down...are we still blessed? We are "blessed" to have a great job, but if it moves us away from our family and friends, is it still a blessing?
Our beautiful and healthy children...they are blessings, aren't they? But what about the ones born with health issues or challenges...or the ones who develop them later? Or the ones chosen from the foster care system, who are so deeply wounded by abandonment or abuse...their new parents wonder if there will ever be enough love to erase their pain? What about the ones, wanted and loved from birth, who chose a different path, and walked away...from family, friends...from God? Were they not considered blessings at one time?
When I was pregnant with Joshua, back in the olden days, Pa and I drove the covered wagon into town one night for one of them new-fangled parentin' classes.
Apparently givin' birth out in the fields ain't no good no more.
One of the first things our instructor did was to have us fill out a questionnaire. The very first question was, "I hope my baby is _____." I put "cute." Because DUH.
Twenty-three other people in our class put "normal."
Well, I think I got exactly what I wanted: the cutest baby EVER. And yes, the road has sometimes been hard...but hasn't yours?
We've probably all heard the song, "Blessings," by Laura Story. It talks about hard things that are "blessings in disguise."
I've shared this story many times, because, the first time I heard it, I thought, "YES! That's exactly how I feel!"
You may know that Laura Story's husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She said that her whole life, she sang the song, "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." But she said that until Jesus took her through something where her only option was to trust Him, she didn't really know that sweetness.
I love that.
I also read that, when Laura and her family were talking about this "detour" God had placed in front of them...with her husband's surgery and radiation and therapies, her sister said, "you know, I think the detour is actually the road."
I love that, too. Because how many times do we try to hurry up and deal with any problems or road-blocks, so that we can get back onto what WE think is our road?
But what if you can't get back on the road?
Maybe the detour IS the road.
"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, ,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21