Responding to Blessing
Consider How We Got Here
God has really been blessing us lately. Last week He provided about 20 middle and high school students who spent the better part of three days weeding, side dressing, Florida weaving, and tackling a number of big chores we had not been able to get to. That same week He, through a very diligent Eagle Scout candidate, his colleagues and family, provided us with a wonderful set of permanent compost bins. And if that was not enough, the summer crops are coming on wonderfully, looking healthier, more luxuriant, and more fecund than we have seen in several years. God’s graciousness is unmistakably on display.
So how do we respond to that, and to God’s blessings generally? Several things come to mind, and they will be the subjects of this and the next several posts.
The first thing we ought to do is think about how we got here, and what we can learn from that progression. That response is described in scripture. God not only teaches us to look for lessons as we go through adversity, He also tells us to look back and learn more once we have gotten through the tough times.
Think about the book of Deuteronomy. Israel had gone through a long period of hard travelling, but was poised to enter the promised land. What did God tell them to do? Look back and learn from the journey:
Remember how for these forty years the Lord, your God, has directed all your journeying in the wilderness, so as to test you by affliction, to know what was in your heart: to keep his commandments, or not. 3 He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your ancestors, so you might know that it is not by bread alone that people live, but by all that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord. 4 The clothing did not fall from you in tatters, nor did your feet swell these forty years. 5 So you must know in your heart that, even as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord, your God, disciplines you. Deuteronomy 8:2-5
Consider our situation here in the garden. The last two growing seasons were tough, and there were rough patches earlier this season, but God got us through them. And more than that, He used those difficulties to teach us things that have increased our fruitfulness. We have already drawn some practical and spiritual lessons from those difficulties, and I am sure that there are others. We (and others) will be blessed if we other make the effort to look for them.
We therefore need to prayerfully look back over the last two seasons, and what has happened already this season, to see what else God would have us learn.