My Unwelcomed Blessings

July 29, 2017
by Diane Eaton

A friend shared how she had once asked God to stop sending trials because she couldn't handle any more. She confessed, "God did grant me a trial-free year; but it was a spiritually dry year." She missed the warm presence of the Lord. She added, "I never grew during that year." Through her trial-free year, she remembered the value of what I call unwelcomed blessings.

Occasionally, I ponder such blessings — the ones that I never wanted. These stress points were the marks of the Master Craftsman whittling away the rough edges of my character. It was all for my good, and that is why they are, indeed, blessings:

Hebrews 12:10b-11 – God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (NIV 2011)

Trials are much harder to endure when one sees no purpose in them. Thankfully, God's children need not be ignorant of His purposes. Scripture provides answers. Our challenge is to appreciate the outcomes intended by God — those qualities of spiritual maturity: peace, righteousness, perseverance, patience, faith, holiness, and much more.

My lengthy list of unwelcomed blessings includes those times when I was confronted with loss, hurts, or humiliations; when I felt misunderstood or rejected; and when I sensed failure. The initial sting of these training experiences diminished as I realized how they helped break down my pride, strip the veneers of falseness, deflate my self-serving ambitions, and much more.

Scripture puts value on our unwelcomed blessings: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3 NIV 2011)

I admit that I still don't receive trials with pure joy. (I doubt that I even know what that is!) My instinct is to grumble, control, and fret. Surely, it's because I don't yet fully appreciate the intended outcome of this training: "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:4 NIV 2011)

That includes pure joy, which Jesus Himself possessed even in His darkest hour. He prayed that we, too, would possess that quality: "that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." (John 17:13b NIV 2011)

Jesus could accept His sufferings and death as unwelcomed blessings because He valued the outcome: the blessings of salvation for many. Jesus was thinking of His church, including you and me. Imagine that in itself giving Jesus pure joy!

Prayer: Dear Master Craftsman, train us to appreciate and crave the beautiful qualities of spiritual maturity that come through Your whittling touch. Even in the pain, may we learn to view it all as for Your glory — joyfully. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>

Paisley, Ontario, Canada


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    How true Diane.


    Thanks Diane for sharing this interesting devotional. Blessing.


    Thanks MS Eaton – just what I needed for today! God bless you.


    Good thoughts Diane.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for this well-written reminder. This writing of yours goes in my “keep and read again, often!” file.


    God bless you Diane!
    Thank you so much for this devotional. It truly spoke to me and is a blessing for this time in my life.


    Thanks again. You just answered all my concerns. I can see that I have matured in Christ because I can see why my problems and how I can now recognize them as a growing Experience.


    Good morning Diane! So good to hear from you this morning; for the Welcomed Blessing! You start my day off on the right note!
    Thank you for your inspiration and your God given gifts!


    Hello Diane,
    I so appreciated your devotional today.
    Hard sayings, beautifully penned.
    God bless your day and ministry of encouragement.


    Dear Diane.
    Thank you for your very timely message this morning.
    I injured my back several weeks ago, and have been in hospital ever since. I will be going to assisted living when I am able.
    My family had been encouraging me for some time to make a move to a seniors’ accommodation, but I repeatedly said I was fine in my own home!
    Well… I feel now that God had a purpose when all this occurred, and thus, your message really touched me this morning.
    Blessings.


    Good Morning, Diane, and let me say “Thank you for today’s devotional, another well written and timely message.”
    Having lost both my mother and our daughter within a year, I constantly feel the loss. In true human fashion, I ask, “Why?” Recently I read an article that suggested instead of asking “why”, I ponder the thought, “What possible good might come from this loss?” Today, you refer to a situation such as this, as an “unwelcome blessing”, and this gives me another perspective to ponder.
    Many times throughout our daughter’s illness, I was often heard to say that I would never be able to understand how people with no faith could travel the road of trials, for without my belief in God and the fact that He had a higher purpose for sending me a cross to bear, I could not have survived the loss of our daughter. While I miss her more and more each day, I am looking for God’s purpose for me to have been left to carry on. I, too, have come to rely on the scriptures you use in your message.
    After being approached by a volunteer as hospice workers in my community, during this past week, I felt led to apply to be a volunteer. Perhaps God was preparing me all along as I cared for, not my daughter and Mom, but other friends and relatives in palliative care over the years. Perhaps the unwelcome trials and tribulations can now be seen as “unwelcome blessings” in disguise.
    Thank you, Diane, for adding another perspective to my thought processes.
    Blessings.


    Diane,
    ” we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.” Romans 5:3b-5.


    Dear Diane,
    I want to tell you how much I value your insights of the gospel.
    I lead a senior ladies Bible Study here. We are just starting a new study and the topic is James 1:1-8, 12 and this devotion will be used for our devotion.
    Thank you so much for sharing you love of Christ in this manner.
    (BC)

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