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What does it mean to be blessed?

DSCN0079If I asked you to set a timer for 60 seconds and make a bullet point list of all of your blessings, what would you include? 
I’m guessing financial fortune would top that list if you’re able to pay the bills. And your health if you’re in good shape, your spouse if you’re still in love, your house if you have a nice one…and the list of provisions would go on and on. Chances are you would not include the pain of losing a child…the failure you feel if your marriage is falling apart…or the nausea that rolls through the pit of your stomach when a hefty bill comes in the mail that exceeds the balance of your bank account. Why would you count anything that gives you pain among your blessings? It defies logic. Aren’t blessings supposed to be those sweet parts of life that bring a smile to your face? But what if your greatest blessings involved traveling down a broken road and experiencing pain?

This week I get to call Maria’s Big House of Hope home. It’s a house of hope for sure. But it’s also a house of pain. Incomparable pain. Every room is packed with precious children under the age of five, who’ve been orphaned by circumstances beyond their control and certainly beyond my comprehension. Many of these kids struggle to simply live…they’ve endured all manner of illness, surgeries, and lack of parental provision. It would be easy to look at these kids with eyes of pity and condemn the political and economic system that brought them to this place. But I’m trying instead to look at these kids through the eyes of God. What does He see when He sees these kids? I think He sees them as broken and vulnerable as we all are in light of the Fall. I don’t think He wants us to simply pity these kids. I think He wants us to look at these kids and ask ourselves, “What’s broken in me, too?” I think God loves these kids deeply, would lay down His life for them and wants us to want to lay down our lives for them, too, by showing them love, giving them the best medical care they deserve and seeing them for the precious souls they are.

The in-country staff at Maria’s reminded me that we could be missing out on the biggest life lessons God’s trying to teach us when we equate “blessings” with financial provision and ease. While the Western culture likens the term “blessed” to wealth, health and happiness, a more biblical approach to the term “blessed” involves turning over our pain and suffering to the Lord, and allowing Him to work through our brokenness to redeem everything in His time. Miracle-making always flies in the face of common sense. And God seems to be in the business of defying logic to bring glory to His name.

It’s the greatest blessing of my life to bear witness to His miracle-making, redemptive-through-the-pain purposes at Maria’s Big House of Hope. Thank you for your continued prayers. This journey has been a joy.

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