Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Praying for the Double Blessing

Photo by friedmanlynn
Dealing With Loss

Several months ago, I shared My Story (part 1 and part 2) of a messy divorce and life lessons learned as a result of living through a difficult time for almost two years.

I attempted to do the right thing at every twist and turn during that period of time. I prayed multiple times a day for God to bring restoration and healing. I spent time in the Word as well as other Christian books on marriage. I sought counsel from my friends and spiritual leaders. I even went to a professional therapist.

A New Prayer

For whatever reason, God did not answer my prayers the way I thought He would answer them. As the divorce process dragged on, I could see that the inevitable would take place - a divorce I didn't want even though I was assured by family and friends that I had the Biblical grounds to allow it to take place. 

So, about a year ago near the end of my divorce process, I started praying a different prayer. I prayed a prayer for a double blessing. In a sense, I (figuratively) "grabbed hold of the horns on the altar" and began praying for God to give me a blessing on the other side of this whole mess for at least attempting to do the right thing. While I continued to pray for a possible healing and restoration, I also realized that I was locked into an extreme spiritual battle that was out of my control. God was going to use this situation for His purposes and all I needed to do was to worry about being obedient to what He wanted me to do.

The Double Blessing

The Bible has a few stories regarding blessing as a result of adversity. First, I think of Job. Job experienced tremendous loss and heartache. All of his wealth was stripped from him when He lost all of his livestock and servants to raiders and storms. Then, his seven sons and three daughters were tragically killed when their home collapsed by a strong wind. Finally, Job was stripped of his health when Satan inflicted boils all over his body. The Bible states that through all of his trials, Job remained steadfast to God. He retained his personal integrity and would not curse God. As a result of Job passing his trials, God blessed him twice as much in the second half of his life:
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before…The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years (Job 42:10, 12-17).
Second, I think of the Prayer of Jabez. In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 we read,
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 
Jabez was birthed in pain and so-named as a result. I mean, how would you like it if your name meant "pain?" You would probably walk around with a sad, defeated attitude on most days; but not Jabez! He prayed for God to bless his life, and God blessed him!

The Obligatory Disclaimer

Over the last several months as I have crossed over to the other side of my journey, I am sensing answers to my prayers for double blessing. There have been financial blessings, and there has been the blessing of a new relationship. Even though I am totally undeserving of His blessing, He in his mercy and grace has chosen to answer those prayers. I look forward to seeing how these blessings will continue to unfold over time. In spite of the challenges and disappointments, God has been good to me and I am forever grateful to Him.

But, I must add that God is God, and He is going to do whatever He wants to do that will best accomplish His Kingdom purposes. This may include a "double blessing" in your life after going through a time of great difficulty, and at other times, it may mean that He has a different definition for "blessing" than you do. At these times, we will need to learn to submit to His will and purpose for our lives.

I don't know what you're going through, today, but don't give up on God and what He is trying to do in and through your life right now. Be obedient and submit to His will. Along your journey, pray for His double blessing on the other side of it all, then wait and see how God answers your prayers.

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