After an up-and-down 2016 which I was glad to see come to an end, 2017 has started out a little easier for us … and little more hopeful …
For New Year’s/Christmas, I unexpectedly got a new (to me) car. On December 30, we drove home a gently used Nissan Altima that is only a couple of years old. It wasn’t the car I had wanted when I first walked into a dealership that 2 of my friends had recently used and found to be very reasonable … We intended to get a 6 to 8-year-old used SUV or perhaps even a compact car…. Something we could pay off quickly and would get us around for a few years at least. Until our son bought his Honda Civic, we’ve always had “American made” vehicles as well. It what our dads always recommended and drove … and so we’ve had Pontiacs, Fords and Chevys and Buicks and Saturns, all made in the USA.
It’s a long story … but in the end, I really think this is the car God wanted me to have. After my husband “negotiated” (ie. basically said “no” to every offer the salesman made until he came down to our terms/budget) the price, suddenly, we could afford it! While we haven’t had a car payment in probably 10 years, we now have one we can pay fairly comfortably. And now we actually have a car that will not only accommodate our family size-wise but might just not need repairs every couple of months! God willing … And the fact that the driver side window actually rolls down and the CD player works are bonuses after driving a van that had neither feature. The Bluetooth phone thing is a really unexpected bonus … and now I can drive around looking like I am talking to myself when I’m really talking on my phone!
Do you ever associate your material blessings to how much God loves you? It is a sad fact that I found out about myself. In 2016, I was feeling somewhat neglected by God … kind of like he was some non-affectionate spouse or neglectful father because my life was HARD sometimes, and He wasn’t making it easier for me.
This whole #blessed thing has been written about by people far more insightful than me … but it bothered me, for example, on Facebook when a Christian friend got a new house and posted “We are so blessed!” … and I questioned, “Are they really MORE blessed then me – me, who is actually losing a house soon??”
And then, I get this new car, and I want to say, “I AM SO BLESSED!” … Am I more blessed now than I was last year when I was driving a broken-down, old Chevy mini-van?! Not really … in a sense. It is more like “I am blessed beyond what I deserve!” or is that even true?? I mean, my husband and I have worked our tails off the last few years trying to get out of debt, pay our bills, and keep our finances out of hot water. So I deserve this?? Do you deserve a new house if you’ve worked hard to save money for down payments?? Maybe you do! Hard works pays off, right??!!
I don’t even know why I get so worked about this issue because compared to Christians, say, in Mosul, Iraq, we are incredibly protected and “blessed” … or are they NOT blessed?!?!! You might ask them and I wonder what they’d say?? They might say that every day they get to live un-persecuted, they are “blessed”??
Anyway … let’s just say I am GRATEFUL! Life in America is not to be taken for granted. It should make us more eager to help those in TRUE need. Yes, our days might be “hard” … the inconveniences of life make things seem difficult sometimes … but in the end, GRATITUDE is something the Bible seems to emphasize far more than “blessings”. In fact, “blessed” in the Bible means “happy”, I think?? Like in the Beatitudes of Matthew chapter 5 or Psalm 1:1, “blessed is the man who walked not in the counsel of the ungodly …”.
There are blessings everywhere – every day: in the midst of a hard morning, we see the sunshine; in the hospital, we get a kind word from a nurse; in the night with a sick child, we feel calm …
This is the lesson I have learned in 2016 … God is good. All the time. God loves me. All the time. God doesn’t punish me or test me unless He has a purpose. God gives and takes away. Blessed be HIS name! (Job 1:21)