Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
Sometimes it can feel as if it’s always someone else’s turn to be blessed by God. Sometimes if we focus too much on the good things in other people’s lives, we can become obsessed with the idea that God has forgotten about us.
I’m reminded of the opening few scenes of the Jim Carrey movie Bruce Almighty. Bruce becomes convinced that not only is God NOT blessing him, but He’s actually getting a kick out of “kicking him when he’s down.” This thought can begin a vicious circle of anger, frustration, envy and depression – all of which get in the way of you being able to earnestly seek a close relationship with God.
I’m thinking about of all this today because this morning something unusual happened. I wanted to share it to highlight the way that sometimes the only thing standing in the way of God’s blessings is your own thoughts.
A local radio station has been running a competition where they piece together two celebrities’ voices and ask the listeners to name them in the correct order. If you get one right, you win a small amount of money. If you get both names right, you win a big amount of money. I’m not naming the radio station because I don’t have their permission to mention them in something like this post. Maybe you know what radio station I’m talking about, maybe you don’t – the identity doesn’t matter anyway.
I’m a loyal listener and I used to try to call in regularly in an attempt to win but getting through was always difficult and so recent times have seen me stop trying to get through altogether. Over the last few weeks, I’ve caught myself being hit by the jealousy bug on the odd occasion when someone got through and even when they won. These thoughts were part of a bigger issue in my life, which can be summarised as “God has forgotten about me. He doesn’t realise what I’m coping with at the moment. I’m alone in this.”
Well, this morning I’m driving in to work and I hear the two new voices for the week and immediately I know who the second voice is. I’m convinced 100% that I’m correct. The cue to call in sounds across the air waves and what do I do with this 100% certainty? Nothing. The cue to call passes and a song starts up on the station.
I’m not dialling because right at that moment my thoughts were – “there’s no point even trying. You can never get through. I can just listen along like usual. It’s not like I’d actually be right and get through!”
Then a new thought came to me – “How can God bless you if you don’t throw your hat in the ring?” There’s a great quote from a movie that sometime occurs to me. The girl in the movie was saying how she wanted a particular job and her father reminded her that her odds go up substantially when she actually submits her application. So I dialled the number – busy signal. I dialled three more times and to my absolute shock, the phone was answered by the station. I was through! I was the second guesser. My heart thudding in my chest, I wait for my turn. I listen as the first guesser says her two names – she doesn’t name the ones I was going to say (much to my surprise) and then I hear that she’s incorrect and it’s my turn. I gulp a bit as I submit my two names, sure that I’m at least partially right and wait.
The announcer tells me that I have one voice right! I can hardly believe my ears. My hands are shaking. Now, I could have allowed those thoughts to return again. “You didn’t win the jackpot. God clearly isn’t hearing you etc etc.”
But I refused. Instead, I was grateful for what I had received. Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that if you have the right attitude and pray seriously for a million dollars, God’s going to deliver you the winning lottery ticket. That’s not how it works and that’s also not really my point. God isn’t a magical genie who will grant your wishes.
Instead, my point is that sometimes it’s my own negativity that prevents me from accepting God’s blessings. He enjoys providing blessings to his children like finding a car park in peak times, or getting the fire brigade to your door in time, or allowing you good traffic on Sundays so that you can get all your errands done. Or, as he did in his marvellous way today with me, blessing you with a small win on a radio station!
I’m going turn my negativity over to God for his help going forward this year and try to keep myself open to how ever He chooses to move in my life. Perhaps that’s something you might like to work on as well.