We have been blessed with a wonderful wood stove. It kept us warm last winter and we are now looking at a second. We are very grateful to have it, especially since we found out the heat pump we were given for Beit-Shalom does not work.
This is not the way we planned to heat our home, but seldom do things in life goes as planned. This can be hard for some people to understand. For whatever reason, they seem to be able to make plans and then make them happen. Oh, there might be some detours along the way, but they ultimately see their plans come to fruition. But that is not the way it is for everyone.
For example, we never planned to live in a tiny RV for five and half years. Admittedly, when we bought the RV we DID have in mind the possibility that we might have to live in it temporarily if things got tough. But it was not planned to be that way. We also had California weather in mind at the time, not Indiana ice and snow!
We had initially planned to go North when we sold our house, but life kept throwing things at us that closed those doors. So, why did we move here? Sometimes things happen in life that simply move you along in directions other than the one you want to go. The door opened for Dave to work for a ministry whose mission he believed in. With no other doors opening that we could see, we made the move.
We understood the cost of housing to be a little bit different than it actually was and we experienced some financial surprises after we got here that made finding a place to rent or buy prohibitive. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and, looking back, we can see how we could have done things a bit differently. But would it have made a real difference? Almost assuredly. The thing is, though, that it could have led us down a path that would have left us worse off than we are now!
Let me explain. There are things we could have done differently that would have put us in a better situation when we got here. That would have resulted in us making different decisions. We most likely would have bought a house or found a place to rent. However, when Dave got laid off, we would not have been able to afford the rent or the mortgage!
It can be really easy to judge others for the situations in which they find themselves, but we really need to be careful about that. It just might be that there is nothing they could have done to make things turn out better. In fact, it is very possible that the decisions they made kept them from being in a worse situation!
Ultimately, we have to trust that our Creator is watching over us. He is allowing things that cause our heart connection with Him to grow, things that mature us as people and as disciples of Messiah Yeshua. He is also protecting us. We live in a fallen world where bad things do happen. What we see as a negative could actually be much better than what would have happened without His protection. They could also be stepping stones to something that is ultimately better than even what we were aiming for. We wanted a house, but what good would that have been if we ended up losing it and then unable to buy the land we now live on?
It can be hard to go through struggles. No doubt about it. And it can seem as if the hardships are lasting forever with no end in sight. Yet, faith is believing for what we cannot yet see. Are we trusting that our steps are being guided by our Creator to bring us to something better?
We are living in an unfinished house with a driveway that some people cannot even drive up. The wear and tear on our own van is pretty high. That is frustrating at times. Yet, we are living in HOUSE! After five and half years in a tiny RV, we are in a house! Our mortgage is a land payment which is much smaller than any rent or mortgage we could find anywhere in our area. Our minimal needs are being met. Yes, the L-rd still has to provide in ways other than Dave’s job for some things and He is faithful to do so. Yes, there are many things that still need to be done on the house and land; but we do what we can and trust that Abba will cover and protect what we cannot do.
There is another aspect to this. When negative things happen, the first thing I need to ask is for the L-rd to show me if I am somehow outside of His will. There are things that can be the natural consequences of disobedience just as there are things that can simply be the result of living in a fallen world (or in a country that has turned its back on G-d). Just as I give guidelines and boundaries to my children to protect them, He (as the perfect Abba/Father) also gives us guidelines and boundaries. They are not there to restrict us, but to actually set us free to live lives of blessing! So, one of the first things I need to do is to ask if I am somehow interfering with His desired blessings toward me.
What is blessing? I believe it is not always what we think it to be. The greatest blessing of all is that Messiah has taken on Himself the punishment for my disobedience and rebellion. There really is nothing greater than that, for whatever happens in this life is temporary; but what happens after this life is eternal. Yeshua has torn down the wall of separation from Abba that my disobedience put up! Hallelu Yah!
Another blessing is the fact that I can trust in my Abba to lead me and guide me on my life’s journey. What a heavy weight to think it all depends upon me! What a JOY to know that He is there, lovingly guiding me. I can truly trust Him in ALL the things that happen, both the ones that seem positive and the ones that seem negative. I just have to do my best in life and He will take care of the rest.
More blessings come in the form of what we call “Divine Incidences”. We don’t believe in mere coincidences. We have seen things come together in just the right way SO many times and we live by the scripture that tells us that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above…from the Abba/Father. So, I believe that gratitude is important. Am I always being grateful toward my true Provider and telling Him so? Or am I taking Him for granted?
I believe that ingratitude and disobedience are the two biggest blocks to receiving blessings. And yet, even in spite of that, our Abba does continue to bless us in many ways. The reality is that we deserve NO blessings, NO good things, because of our rebellion and ingratitude. Yet, instead of blocking all blessings, He still allows them to come through as if in an attempt to remind us of Himself. Will we listen?
Here is one blessing He has given to us, a beautiful foggy morning.